Domaine des Echardières
The Touraine appellation does not have the most exalted reputation. Although some domaines have been able to rise above it, most notably the now defunct Clos Roche Blanche, I suspect for many the appellation is as much a hindrance as it is a help. Mention the Touraine appellation and your thoughts are quite likely to turn to green and grassy Sauvignon Blanc from rather silty or lightly gravelly soils, or rather delicately framed and fruity Gamay, wines which do not have the substance or depth that we can find so readily coming from the vineyards of the Côte Roannaise or the Côtes du Forez.
This is a great shame because in fact parts of the Touraine vineyard have much more favourable terroir and produce much better wines than the words of my opening paragraph might suggest. The limestone slopes that have been carved out by the waters of the Cher offer some particularly interesting opportunities, with clay and Turonian calcaire to rival any in the region’s more famous appellations. But until recently there was no way for the local vignerons located along the Cher to speak of this terroir, no path for them to rise above the more generic appellation, as those in Chinon or Vouvray have done.
This situation changed in 2011 with the creation of the Touraine Chenonceaux appellation. A total of 27 communes dotted along the Cher have this new appellation, although only tiny sections of each commune, on the right soils, bordering the river, are entitled to it. In my experience one of the most prominent exponents of this appellation has been Luc Poullain, at Domaine des Echardières. He also just happens to be the president of the appellation’s syndicat.