A zesty, dry crisp wine with a waft of gooseberry. As good as many a Sancerre. Made close to the city of Touraine, made from the most famous of Loire grapes - Sauvignon Blanc. Yes they were growing it here long before the Kiwis.
Drink now + 2 years
region of France
An enormous chunk of north eastern France is occupied by the Loire Valley, which has undoubtedly made a name for itself with its white wines.
Loire wines are known for being fruit forward and not having much oak influence. Being so far north, there are limits to how much red grapes can ripen well here, although rosé and red wines are not exactly uncommon.
Starting in the west, in the sub-region of Pays Nantais, the most famous westerly Loire wine is Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, a wine that’s made from the Muscadet grape and is designed to be a wine for early drinking, refreshment and, unsurprisingly given its proximity to the sea, is a fantastic match with seafood. Muscadet sur Lie is also a hugely popular wine, where the light grape of Muscadet is given extra depth and character by resting for a period on the wine’s lees (the post fermentation yeast deposit).
Moving inwards we come to the second of Loire’s four sub-regions, Anjou-Saumur, which has a mild climate and reasonable rainfall. While Anjou is especially revered for sweet wines such as Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux, Saumur is more concerned with sparkling wine production, made from Chenin Blanc and occasionally Chardonnay too.
Touraine is most famous for Vouvray, Chinon and Bourgueil. Vouvray can be anything from dry to sweet (check the label carefully) and is made from the white grape Chenin Blanc, whereas Chinon and Bourgueil hang their hat on lighter red wines made from Cabernet Franc.
Loire’s most famous wine names come from the region furthest inland, known as the Upper Loire. Here, finely crafted, pure, crisp, mineral Sauvignon Blancs come out of the regions of Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, two wine districts that occupy either side of the Loire river.
Traditionally it could be argued that the home of Sauvignon Blanc are the Loire Valley and the Bordeaux region. Due to their cool climate this late budding and early ripening varietal fits in perfectly, but due to the fact that it is a superb traveller it is now producing fantastic whites in New Zealand, Chile, California and South Africa. Many now deem Marlborough, New Zealand, as the new home of this varietal where the greatest Sauvignon Blanc can be found.
As Sauvignon Blanc is of the aromatic variety, it is generally at its best when young and unoaked. Due to this very few Sauvignon Blanc wines age well, with those that do tending to have a touch of Semillon as a blend and oaked slightly.
When planted in cool regions Sauvignon Blanc will develop classic green, herbaceous flavours. In warmer regions it can fail to develop much aromatic character and just have hints of peach. Generally the wines have high acidity and are normally rather dry.
Salads & Vegetables
This wine is best suited to asparagus and avocado. Throw in some goat's cheese, olives and spinach and you'll have your dream salad.
Fish & Seafood
Shellfish and delicate white fish such as sole, skate and plaice are the perfect match for this wine. It would also work well with clam chowder and smoked fish.
Pasta & Other Sauces
Tartare sauce is a great accompaniment to this wine as well as Beurre Blanc or a light cream and fish based sauce.
Steamed, baked and casseroled chicken are a must for this wine but it works equally well with pork or veal.
Herbs & Spices
Pair with chives, coriander, dill and ginger. It also works well with lemongrass and lime.
A great wine to have with Thai dishes as it works with the lime and lemongrass qualities present in this aromatic cuisine.
Team this wine with high acid cheeses such as Chavignol and pecorino.