Touraine may lack the reputation of the more flashy locales in the Loire Valley. The name recognition just isn't the same as Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume. That doesn't stop Vincent Ricard from taking his winemaking just as seriously as the top names anywhere in the Loire. Ricard works his vines and restricts his yields with a vigor that shocks many of his neighbors, who are content to churn out churn out grocery-store wines while Ricard earns international acclaim.
Ricard is a Teddy Bear of a winemaker, and his 2008s are outstanding examples of one of the most surprising white wine vintages we've seen in 25 years of visits to the Loire. Why the surprise? The early word out of the Loire Valley in the summer of 2008 was grim. Things started out ugly when a mid-summer hail storm ripped through the valley leaving shattered clusters in its wake. Then the constant rain at the end of August proved catastrophic for lesser producers, who hadn't taken steps to thwart mildew.
But these rough conditions didn't prove a problem for Ricard. He just doubled his time on the tractor, kept the vines clean, and waited out the weather. Production might have been down a bit from previous years, but the results from his Potine vineyard were striking. This is a terrifically concentrated, aromatically intense Sauvignon Blanc with inviting aromas of pink grapefruit on the nose. The minerality here is also quite pronounced, remaining on the palate through the finish.
Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc is tremendously versatile with food. This Domaine de la Potine will complement anything from fresh goat cheeses, through shellfish and thin fillets, to roasted chicken breast with a wild mushroom risotto.