A World Heritage site and France’s third largest wine-producing region, The Loire Valley’s Touraine appellation is defined by rivers, castles, châteaux, and vineyards as far as the eye can see. No wonder it was the preferred residence of French royalty for centuries. The Touraine also has a uniquely ideal terroir making it France’s leading region for white wines and second for sparkling and rose. Vineyards are concentrated around the city of Tours bordering the Loire River stretching from the Sologne region to the edge of Vienne and Anjou.
Situated in the medieval village of Montrichard, 4th generation Domaine Paul Buisse has been making wine for over 100 years utilizing expertise that only comes from multiple generations being involved at every stage of the winemaking process.
In addition to their own 173 acres in the Touraine, Buisse sources from vineyards stretching from Vouvray to Chinon and Sancerre to Nantes.
It all started in 1905 producing and selling table wine by the barrel. Jean Buisse took over the family business in 1946 with an entirely different philosophy of decreasing yields, increasing quality, and selling by the liter. In 1955 he acquired ownership of their current premises, Caves de la Boule Blanche (Caves of the White Ball) which were carved into a hillside bordering the River Cher. Once a limestone quarry supplying stone for the Loire’s iconic castles, bridges, churches, and châteaux now provides the winery ideal cellar space with temperatures remaining a constant 54°F year round.
Paul Buisse was the last of the family to run the winery taking over in 1989. Beginning his career as a chef, he then spent 10 years working alongside his father Jean before assuming ownership. This was good timing since sales of table wines continued plummeting in response to rising demand for appellation varietals.
Paul sold the company in 2010 to his friend Pierre Chainier whose family has a long history of working in wine and trade dating back to 1749. The Chainier family was the first in the Loire Valley to adopt environmentally sound growing techniques including confusing insects with pheromone treatments and organic weed control combined with hands-on vine stewardship keeping pesticide treatments to a minimum.
To this day, Domaine Paul Buisse’s south-southwest exposure and clay limestone soils are considered one of the appellation’s most coveted terroirs yielding full bodied fruit forward wines. Trellised vines averaging 25 years of age grow 328 feet above sea level.
Here are 2 samples of what to expect from their lineup:
Sauvignon Blanc is a fragile grape variety very sensitive to both soil and climate exhibiting marked yet subtle floral aromas. The growing season producing this vintage was dry and hot resulting in healthy grapes but thirsty vines and early ripeness. This led to harvesting at the beginning of September. Crafted using traditional methods, grapes undergo a cold settling fermentation in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures and are then cellared 1-3 months.
This 100% Sauvignon imparts a spirited bouquet of grapefruit, fresh apricot, and exotic fruit carrying onto the palate. Well balanced minerality exhibits a juicy freshness balanced by soft tannins leading to a seamless finish laced with hints of fresh coconut. Ideal for appetizers, this Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for opening your palate with soft cheeses, summertime salads, and light seafood dishes.
Vineyards producing this Cremant border the Loire River extending from Tours all the way west to Angers. Grapes from the Angers are grown in dark shale soils that enjoy an oceanic influence imparting a fruity roundness to the wine. Vines from the Tours region are set in soils of clay and flint with a climate that is a bit more continental bringing vigor and elegance to the final blend. Vines from both sites are trellised averaging 30 years old.
All grapes in this blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Chenin Blanc are hand harvested undergoing a temperature controlled alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats using méthode traditionnelle (same method as Champagne). After a second bottle fermentation, wine is aged for 12 months prior to release.
You get tempting aromas of white fruit and fresh ripe strawberry revealing hints of almond, hazelnut, and brioche. The palate is elegant and fresh providing a full bodied effervescence with thin and creamy bubbles. Balanced acidity yields an even tempered astringency showcasing an intriguing mix of fruitiness and minerality.
Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored tasting. Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Paul Buisse, & Steve Mirsky.