The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Touraine ready to unveil new sub-regions

Two newly defined Loire sub-regions of AOC Touraine are due to be released onto the market from 1 May 2012.

Touraine Oisly and Touraine Chenonceaux represent the culmination of over 20 years’ work by local producers to win recognition for what Virginie Fournier-Prinsloo, who runs the AOC Touraine syndicate, described as “a special terroir”.

Home to some of the first Sauvignon Blanc vines to be planted in the Loire three generations ago, Oisly denomination wines will be 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Just 16 hectares in size, the character of Sauvignon from this region was typified by Sam Harrop MW, consultant for InterLoire, as offering “boxwood, passionfruit and grapefruit” from its high, sandy soils.

Wines labelled under the denomination of Touraine Chenonceaux, an area running along the banks of the river Cher, must be either 100% Sauvignon Blanc or, for the reds, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, a variety known locally as Côt.

Slightly larger than Touraine Oisly, Chenonceaux’s territory has 16ha planted with Sauvignon and 19ha of red varieties.

Pointing to their “calcaire, more mineral style”, for Harrop these Chenonceaux Sauvignons “are perhaps more typical of what we should expect from the Loire”.

Fournier-Prinsloo explained the motivation behind these two new Touraine sub-appellations as aiming “to improve the reputation of the region”, confirming: “We will try to sell these wines at a higher price than the normal Touraine.”

Whereas many Loire Sauvignons from the 2011 vintage were bottled back in January or February, Fournier-Prinsloo highlighted the importance of extra time on lees as part of the quality drive for these new denominations.

“The whites need elevage until at least 30 April and the reds until 31 August”, she explained, pointing to additional qualifying criteria such as soil, slope, yield and landscape surrounding the vineyards.

As a result of this extended maturation requirement, the white wines from both regions are due for release from 1 May, while the Chenonceaux reds will be available from 1 September.

Story by Gabriel Savage

Courtesy of The Drinks Business

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