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Weekend wines: Sip on a crisp, citrusy sauvignon blanc

With all the wines I taste, I can’t seem to keep enough crisp, dry whites on hand for my own enjoyment. That’s probably because I prefer this style when I want a glass of wine before dinner or while cooking — something refreshing and relatively light with moderate alcohol. And so I quickly run out. So the other night I bought the latest vintage of a wine that has filled this need perfectly
Domaine de la Chaise's Touraine Sauvignon from France's Loire Valley is citrusy, dry and well worth a try at $14.
Domaine de la Chaise's Touraine Sauvignon from France's Loire Valley is citrusy, dry and well worth a try at $14.Getty Images stock

With all the wines I taste, I can’t seem to keep enough crisp, dry whites on hand for my own enjoyment. That’s probably because I prefer this style when I want a glass of wine before dinner or while cooking — something refreshing and relatively light with moderate alcohol. And so I quickly run out. 

So the other night I bought the latest vintage of a wine that has filled this need perfectly in the past — Domaine de la Chaise’s Touraine Sauvignon from France’s Loire Valley. Although Touraine is the largest appellations in the Loire, with some 850 producers, its wines are overshadowed by those from smaller, more famous areas such as Sancerre and Pouilly Fume.

That’s a good thing because it has kept Touraine prices affordable, with many wines available for $15 or less. While they might not have quite the elegance or minerality of the better-known wines, they do have a good deal of complexity and, for that reason, are among the world’s best sauvignon values.

That complexity is a hallmark of the 2011 Domaine de la Chaise’s Touraine, much the same as the 2010 vintage, which I reviewed a year or so ago. As it opens up, this turns out to be a beautiful and refined sauvignon, showing lychee and citrus aromas. There’s a lot more citrus in the mouth, including lime, orange and grapefruit, along with subtle strawberry and vanilla notes and even a hint of white pepper.

This is also a wine for those who prefer a rounder character to the racy, greener style that defines some sauvignons, including many from New Zealand. Alcohol is a modest 12.5 percent and the price, just $14, seals the deal on this one. Enjoy it with fish and shellfish, chicken, vegetable dishes and as an aperitif, which is exactly what I did the other night. Imported by Gabriella Importers, Bohemia, N.Y.

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.