Touraine Chenonceaux: High expression of Sauvignon


vignerons-touraine-chenonceaux
Touraine Chenonceaux winemakers

Revealed just for spring, the results of the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon show all the richness and diversity of expressions found around the world in so different wines made from this grape variety.

The Loire Valley is of course one of the iconic regions of Sauvignon. Let’s take a little tour between Saint-Aignan and Bléré, in the Cher valley, to discover with Thierry Michaud, one of the founders of this appellation (with Alain Godeau among others), a very beautiful gem of Val de Loire.


A little of spelling

Just a few lines to answer the traditional question: with or without X ?

Château de Chenonceau is written without an X, the town of Chenonceaux and the wines of Touraine Chenonceaux with. Don't ask me why, I don’t find the answer yet.

chateau-de-chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau - Picture: Marc Jauneaud

A little history

All started in the early 2000s, when Touraine didn’t have much wine notoriety and a blury identity, while quality was here. Consumers were a little confused with the Chenin-Sauvignon duo for the whites and the Gamay-Cabernet-Côt trio for the reds. "The Touraine appellation was maybe too big and singularly suffered of a lack of identity," Thierry remembers.

The first thinking took place during the « Touraine 2000 project ». The principal target was to identify specific « terroirs » in all Touraine region. For Thierry, the aim was clear: "We had to show that with the terroirs of Touraine we could make really good wines, that these wines could age and reach a good level of valorization. For our region (East part of Touraine), Oisly and part of Sologne of course emerged for sauvignon. The Cher valley also confirmed, for this grape variety but also for the reds, in thirty villages, all the good we thought about these locations. "

Chenonceaux
Chenonceaux

After a long work with the INAO (National Institute of Appellation d'Origine), the name Touraine Chenonceaux was born and the first vintage to bear this name was be 2011. Initially, 18 winegrowers bet on this project. Success and recognition arrived almost immediately and the pioneers was quickly accompanied by many colleagues. Today nearly 60 structures (winegrowers, cooperatives and negociants) produce and sell "Chenonceaux".


Looking out over the Cher, concentrated on the upper slopes, the selected plots are characterized by siliceous clay soils of the Perruche type, flint sands and limestone soils.


Looking out over the Cher, concentrated on the upper slopes, the selected plots are characterized by siliceous clay soils of the Perruche type, flint sands and limestone soils.

silex-touraine-chenonceaux
Silex en appellation Touraine Chenonceaux

In terms of climate, while we generally speak in Touraine about semi-continentality, the western winds, bringing cooler temperatures and humidity and going up the valley of the Cher river and generate real micro-climates, strongly different from the rest of the region, involving different stages of maturation.


A few rules

After having judiciously selected the plots suitable for production of Touraine Chenonceaux (selection finalized in 2020), the professionals wanted to go further in order to achieve the building of differentiation and valorization. "For that, two conditions were necessary: ​​be very strict regarding the work in the plots and have a qualitative validation tool. "

They have therefore given themselves additional rules including:

- lower yields (max 60 hl/ha for the whites, 55 hl/ha for the reds)

- longer aging for the wines (minimum until April 30 for the whites, until August 31 for the reds).

But before have the right to sell these wines under the name of Chenonceaux, it is also necessary to pass under the judgement of a jury of professionals with a very seriously organized tasting:

- no more than 7 wines per jury,

- at least 5 tasters who do not taste the wines in the same order,

- Try to stay in the family-style of the appellation

"The aim is of course to go beyond the grape variety and highlight the specific identity of Touraine-Chenonceaux. We do it very well with the whites, it takes a little more work for the reds. "

Thierry-Michaud-Vigneron-Touraine-Chenonceaux
Thierry Michaud vigneron in Touraine Chenonceaux

Today the Touraine Chenonceaux appellation covers nearly 170 ha and produces 6,000 hl of white wines (100% sauvignon blanc) and 1,400 hl of red wines (Côt, Cabernet Franc with the possibility of Gamay).

The white wines made from grapes at optimum maturity, aging on lees possess high density but still with tension. Many Touraine Chenonceaux whites that I have tasted until today show that the bet made by the professionals 20 years ago has been completely won. It’s really a great collective success.


I invite you to come In Touraine and discover the wines of this vineyard, not only because the region is beautiful but also because you will meet very nice winegrowers and especially because you will discover very good wines.

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