2018 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses
2018 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses Les Picasses is the most famous Chinon lieu-dit, close to the village of Beaumont-En-Véron on the north bank of the Vienne River. It is a slope with full southern exposure and chalky clay-limestone soils, the combination resulting in fully ripened, structured wines. Raffault’s mid-slope vines are at least 50 years old and are worked organically and harvested by hand. The fruit is destemmed and the whole, uncrushed berries are fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tank; fermentation and maceration last for 25-30 days, depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 2-3 years in oak and chestnut foudres ranging from 30-50 hectoliters; it is then further aged in tank and bottle before release about four years after the vintage. Les Picasses is the fullest-bodied, most structured and most complex of the Raffault reds.
An important red wine appellation in the Touraine district of the Loire, Chinon produces fanciful, light-bodied reds from the Cabernet Franc grape. Chinon also makes charming rosés from the same grape as well as white wines from Chenin blanc. But the reds give the area its fame. Often scented with fresh herbs, black tea and violets, Chinon reds show a lovely combination of fruit and acidity. However, styles have become more concentrated and ripe in recent years from improvements in vineyard management. Modern methods include planting grass between vineyard rows, using higher trellises and deleafing to increase sunlight to berries and therefore improve ripening. Even still, red Chinon is intended to be a light to medium bodied, refreshing wine to be enjoyed in its youth.
Fuller-bodied Chinons come from vineyard sites on the clay and tuffeau limestone slopes, usually from the southern exposed slopes of Cravant-les-Coteaux, and the plateau above Beaumont. Lighter styled wines come from the sand and gravel vineyards near the Loire or Vienne Rivers with the most refined examples coming from the area around Panzoult.