I was treated the other night. A local restaurant was hosting a wine tasting event to showcase the best of their selection. I say “treated” not because it was a great selection of wine, but just because I enjoy sampling different wines so much and having the opportunity to compare them.
There was only one of six I actually liked. Among the others was a ghastly interpretation of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It reminded me a lot of the Cimarosa that I reviewed a short while back, but far more intense. Too intense. Offensively so in fact. It reminded me of my resentment towards SB for having knocked Chardonnay off it’s well earned perch as British wine drinkers’ favourite grape.
Arriving back at home, it seemed like the opportune moment to pour a glass of Morrison’s Touraine SB, hopefully to help get me over that resentment again. Let’s pause to get the lowdown on what this stuff is all about first.
Touraine is a small region in the East of the Loire valley, often seen as offering SB wines that are the poor man’s Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, the two villages at the far East of the Loire valley which have long enjoyed worldwide renown. Then again, I’ve also read that winemakers in those villages often rely on the name too much now, and that Touraine wines are the better bet, certainly in terms of value for money.
The classic Loire valley SB style could be described as sightly grassy and herbaceous with gooseberry and a little citrus. The better ones are also said to have a flinty or mineral undertone to them. Then there’s the more modern style, akin to New Zealand’s SBs, with pronounced lime and tropical fruit flavours. Our example’s label suggests it’s been made in the classic style, but I don’t entirely agree.
I don’t get any of that grassy or leafy stuff. What I do get is a pleasant, not overpowering, hit of lime. I also get gooseberry, as the label told me to expect, but it’s not a punnet of fresh, tart gooseberries. No, these are very ripe ones, perhaps even cooked. Think gooseberry tart, if it pleases you.
So in terms of flavours, this is not quite classical SB, not quite New World SB either. That could be an issue for the purists, but not for me.
When I reviewed the Cimarosa SB, I mentioned that I’d have liked a bit more acid. And this Touraine has delivered that, plenty of it in fact. Not to the point where it becomes unpleasant, but certainly enough to make it feel fresh and vibrant. Unusually for Loire valley SB, there’s a bit of body to this wine too, which combines nicely with that acid to give it a really satisfying mouth feel. I’ve no doubt that as well as being great to drink on it’s own, it would go beautifully with the classic SB food pairing – goats cheese.
At the time of writing, Morrison’s online wine cellar has sold out, which means I can’t confirm the price for you. I’m pretty confident that we’re sub-£7 though, unless of course, they decide to put the price up. But if you get £3 change from a tenner when you buy a bottle of this stuff, that’s definitely good value.