Try These $15 Sauvignon Blancs from Touraine, France

Vineyard_in_the_Loire_Valley Getting ready for tomorrow’s Vouvray twitter tasting with (Weds Aug 6 2014 (5:30pm PST; we’ll be trying two dry wines and two sparkling wines  and learning how Chenin Blanc thrives in the region, and the effects of that terroir) made me recall how many great wines from the Loire Valley in France I’ve had the pleasure to meet in the past year or two.

When it comes to white wines of the Loire Valley, people may think of Muscadet which grows along the river closer to the coast or Vouvray’s Chenin Blanc which is further up river.

The Loire River demarcates France’s weather between the northern climate and the south, adding a few degrees of temperature.  Spring is cool with frost while during grape harvest months it may have rain. Hot summers are moderated by the Atlantic breezes.

The Loire’s Sauvignon Blanc grows in the Touraine region even further up the Loire Valley.  There, under conditions too harsh for other white grapes with high winds and freezing temperatures,  its late bud break and early ripening allows it to flourish in the region’s limestone soils.

Last fall, we gathered at Que Syrah Sue’s and tasted five Sauvignon Blanc from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley in France with the TasteLive crew at a twitter event, and what impressed us most about the group was the range of expression in the wines and the great value , with most of them $15 or less.

1. 2012 Jean-Francois Merieau “Hexagonals” Sauvignon Blanc Touraine – $13.99


Dry Floral Honeysuckle, Jasmine nose, apricot on the front of your tongue, lingers with tartness of apricot pit, very sincere, grass color and hue, wafts of nutmeg and almond, reminds me of a river float, wells up in your mouth, light crème smooth palate. Sweet nose that hits you right off. Nice fruit. A little bitter on the finish. We would have liked a longer ride with such a heavy beginning punch. This is a wine you could drink easily on a hot day. Almost a beer that is a wine.

The most beerest wine that there is.

2. 2011 La Garrelière “Le Blanc” Sauvignon Blanc Touraine – $16.99

Bio-dynamic. Dry and grassy Mineral nose. Freshed squeezed lime. Gooseberry. Very unexpected for a SB. The goat cheese mellowed it out. Rough cut limestone. This wine grabs at you. Pear nose. Anise like clearing a hillside. An herbal anise, not a cooking anise. Much better very chilled rather than a bit warmer.

3. 2011 Xavier Weisskopf Sauvignon du Touraine – $13.99

A nice delicate SB. Body grows as one drinks it more which we liked. Good balance. In our group, some found alone it was bitter but with food it rounded it out, gave it more balance. Pair with sausage pizza, garlic cheese pizza, or gorgonzola cheese torta with cranberries and nuts. We were tasting in several kinds of glasses, from a chard glass to sauv blanc glasses and we noticed that it had more lime and  delivered less acid in the chard glass.

4. 2011 Domaine de la Charmoise (Henry Marionnet) Sauvignon Blanc Touraine – $13.99


13% alcohol makes this one higher than the rest. Kiwi nose, tropical delight.

Take this one on vacation to Hawaii –it’s like wearing Carmen Miranda’s Fruit Hat! or so says Annie.

Carmelized pineapple upside down cake.   syrupy taste, luscious  mouthfeel. Keep this wine at home because it is for a loved one on Sunday afternoon. Indian Summer picnic wine at the beach, lobster boil, clam bake, smokiness,

Beware– the finish is sharp: it ends and drops you like a summer romance, says Annie.

Sweet Tart. New Year’s eve Auld Lang Syne. As it stays open, it still has the tropical nose, but it seems to become more acidic.

5. 2011 Ricard “Les Trois Chenes” Touraine Blanc – $14.99

Subtle, very French, charm, a very honey nose, earthy mineral, bright fruit, honeysuckle, well rounded, has nose, lime, bright, crushed lemon leaves, Thai food, light finish, clean, dry, straw in the barn, empty finish, very glass specific, in a sauv glass it is flat, in a chardonnay it has sweet and bitter.

Curious about wines from Touraine? They range in price from under $10 to over $200. You can see the range in price and the various producers and where to find the wines at 1000 Corks. Check it out here:
Find touraine at 1000 Corks

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