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Chinon

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AOP/AOC by decree dated 31st July 1937, amended 17th August 2016

Vineyard

Location: The Chinon appellation encompasses 26 communes on both sides of the Vienne up to the point where it joins the Loire.

Vineyard Area: 2,310 ha.

History: Over the years, the Royal Fortress of Chinon overlooking the Vienne has played host to countless kings and princes, from the Plantagenets to Richelieu. In 1429, Charles VII received Joan of Arc here; her mission was to convince him to reconquer the Kingdom of France. François Rabelais was born here, and the appellation closely follows the boundaries of La Rabelaisie, the mythical land of Pantagruel and Gargantua. Chinon is popular with visitors who flock to see this Rabelaisian vision etched into Chinon’s architecture and landscapes.

Soil: There are three major soil types:

  • Alluvial terraces (ancient and recent) along the banks of the Vienne, comprising gravel and sand.
  • Turonian (yellow tuffeau) limestone outcrops where the rivers meet.
  • Plateaus and hillocks largely made up of siliceous clay and sand

 

Climate: The confluence of the  Loire  and Vienne marks the start of mild Atlantic conditions. The oceanic climate  sweeps  through the two valleys, reaching the most  distant hillsides and terraces. Slopes are oriented east to west, enjoying excellent, sunny southern exposures; the microclimate  is  ideal  for growing Cabernet Franc.

 

Wines

Average Annual Production over the last 5 years: 

Whites: 2,300 hl,

Reds: 72,600 hl,

Rosés: 10,300 hl

Base yield: 55 hl/ha.

Varietals: Reds and rosés are made almost exclusively from Cabernet Franc (Breton), although Cabernet Sauvignon is authorised to no more than 10% of the varietal mix. Whites are made from Chenin.

Growing Practices:  Minimum planting density: 4,500 vines per hectare

 

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Chinon reds are intensely coloured, initially lively cherry-red to deep garnet, developing a hint of   tawny and a glimmer of purple.

Nose  and  palate:  Some  wines   are   light   and delicate with pronounced scents of red fruit and very pleasing   when young; others are more robust and structured, developing complex flavors of cooked black fruit, baking spices and game. Many winemakers offer a range of products from a variety of terroirs. Chinon white is also made, but in smaller quantities. These are the ‘taffeta’  wines  extolled by  Rabelais,  often  silky smooth with a mineral tang.

Serve young wines at  14-15°C, older ones at 16-17°. Decanting is recommended in both cases – to soften a young wine and to allow an older one to open up.
 

 

Food Pairings

Young, fruity reds pair well with grilled meats, white meat or eggs in wine sauce. The more structured wines call for richer foods such as braised beef or game, meat in mushroom sauce, squab or other game dishes. Whites go beautifully with fish.

 

Aging potential

Depending on style, Chinon wines reach their peak between 2 and 5 years or 10 and 20 years.

 
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