It is in the Touraine region, that the most unique terroir of the Loire is most seen; the yellowish, ‘tuffeau’ soil and rocks are unique to this region, and were formed over 90 million years ago; tuffeau is a combination of sand, chalk, volcanic rock and fossils, very porous and perfect for growing vines. There are some extraordinary hotels, which have carved out rooms within the tuffeau hills surrounding them. The unique soil types absorbs water quickly, but only releases it slowly to the vines, making them stronger and hardier, and increasing the quality and concentration of the grapes they are producing.
The weather is also different from the more western regions, with far less influence from the Atlantic, and more continental climate, with far hotter summer days, which provide increased ripeness to the grapes.
Some Rose is produced, and also superb, vibrant, fleshy reds, from the Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil appellation, which sits close in style to the wines of Chinon and Bourgueil, but with a slightly lighter, fruity and vibrant style, with an elegant vivacity, and berry fruit fragrance.
The best known, and most renowned wine districts in Touraine are Vouvray and Montlouis, both famed for their unique, distinctive, and long- lived still and sparkling wines produced from the Chenin Blanc. The complexity, longevity, and structure of the wines made in these areas are world class, and the wines show the sheer quality and potential of the Chenin Blanc, at its very best. Vouvray produces dry, medium, sweet and sparkling white wines, but all have the unique characteristic of high acidity and in the most part, longevity.
The wines of Montlouis, a smaller area, lying directly opposite Vouvray, on the other side of the river, are similar in style, with similar soils and climate, but less well known. These wines are very underestimated, have great class and structure and are capable of long ageing, once again, due to the natural high acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape.