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Wine notes

Chinon

THE HISTORY OF CHINON

The Royal Fortress of Chinon, which dominates the river Vienne was the place of residence of many kings and princes from the Plantagenets to Cardinal Richelieu. In 1429, Charles VII received Joan of Arc here, when she came to convince him to regain the kingdom of France. Another native of the land is the great writer Rabelais, whose histories and fictionalized versions are engraved in the architecture and landscape of Chinon, making it a place of pilgrimage — as much bacchanalian as literary! The area is also full of Renaissance charm which is extremely popular with tourists.

 

THE VINEYARD

Location: The Appellation covers eighteen municipalities of Indre-et-Loire, on both sides of the Vienne, up to its confluence with the Loire.

Area: 2364 hectares (around six thousand acres)

Soil: alluvial terraces (old and new) on the banks of the Vienne, composed of gravel and sand, hills and limestone hills of the Turonian (yellow limestone) located along the river corridors, platforms and mounds consisting mainly of flint clays and Senonian sands.

Climate: The broad confluence of the Loire and Vienne is a gateway to the temperate climes of the Atlantic. The oceanic climate enters the two valleys, up to the farthest slopes and terraces. A country of the compass rose, each vintage is marked by a different dominant (45/55%) of wind — either the South-westerly, which is hot and humid, or the fresh and dry East wind.

 

THE WINE

Annual production: 15 million bottles per year (two and a half million gallons)

Colours: Red (85% of production), rosé (13%), white (2%)

Basic yield: around 3.57 tons per acre

Average yield: 3.05 tons per acre over the last five years

Grapes: Red and rosé wines come almost exclusively from Cabernet Franc (also called “Breton”), although Cabernet Sauvignon is permitted up to a maximum of 10 % of the blend. White wines are from the Chenin, or Pineau de Loire variety.

Dominant growing practices: Density of 4,500 plants per hectare. Pruning is strictly regulated, usually simple Guyot style for Cabernet.

 

TASTING

Sensory characteristics of Chinon red

The range extends from light and sugary to structured and powerful wine. One can find deep Chinons which are still quite young, as well as long-stored reds which keep all their fruitiness. All share the fruit, freshness, acidity, lightness digestibility and soft tannins.

The robe, with its purple reflections, can be from cherry to dense violet.

On the nose, it is a festival of red fruits — strawberry, raspberry, cherry, currant, moving little by little towards the black fruits blackberry, blackcurrant and prunes, then sweet spices cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom... and finally game leather, fur...

On the palate, whether soft-bodied or spicier, they all enjoy a gourmet stage, a full table, whether simple or sophisticated.

Serving temperature: 14-15 °C for younger wines, 16-17 °C if mature. It is recommended to decant them, to relax the younger and settle and develop the older wines.

Laying-down: Depending on the type, Chinon reaches maturity between 2 and 5 years or between 10 and 20 years.


Sensory characteristics of Chinon rosé:

The colour ranges from pale pink to deep salmon, the nose evokes peaches, lychee, pink grapefruit and red fruits. On the palate the sensation is soft and structured.


Sensory characteristics of white Chinon

White Chinon is a “taffeta wine” highly mineral, with a robe of pale gold, a citrus and floral nose, and a fresh and toothsome taste.

 

 

Bourgueil

HISTORY OF BOURGUEIL 

The cultivation of the vine probably goes back to Roman times here, but it was around the Abbey of Bourgueil, founded in 990, that the vineyard truly developed. The Breton (Cabernet Franc) grape made its appearance in 1152, following the political union of Anjou and Aquitaine.

 

THE VINEYARD

Location: The Appellation covers seven towns on the right bank of the Loire. The slope is gentle and the landscape, with its multiple plots, resembles a mosaic, lit-up by buildings in white tufa limestone.

Area: 3,460 acres (1,400 hectares)

Soil: Half of the vineyard is located on the hillside overlooking the Loire where the soil is mainly limestone (Turonian chalk) and the other half on terraces of sand and gravel (old alluvium of the Loire).

Climate: The vineyard benefits from its wide opening onto the Loire. The Atlantic influences in the valley are clearly felt. The south-facing slope and the plateaun covered with forest protect the terrace from the north winds, creating a mild and temperate microclimate.

 

THE WINE

Annual production: About one and a half million gallons, about 4% of which is rosé.

Colours: Red and Rosé

Basic yield: around 3.57 tons per acre

Grapes: Cabernet Franc (almost uniquely), Cabernet Sauvignon tolerated to a maximum of 10 % of the plantation.

Dominant growing practices: Density of 5,000 plants per hectare. In the spring, simple Guyot pruning, severely regulated.

 

TASTING

Sensory characteristics:

A brilliant robe with a strong, purple colour

An intense nose of red fruits (cherry, strawberry) for wines from gravelly soil. Ripe raspberry, licorice and spices for wines from limestone soils, which evolve into animal notes of leather, fur and roasting.

Soft and flowing for some, dense and meaty for others, all of which become more sober over time. Fresh and balanced finish.

Serving temperature: 14 ° C for young wines from the terraces, 17 ° C for older wines.

Laying-down: The gravelly soil wines mature quickly (2-4 years), while the limestone wines only begin to express their complexity after five years.

 

 

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil

HISTORY OF SAINT NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL 

The cultivation of the vine probably goes back to Roman times here, but it was around the Abbey of Bourgueil, including St Nicholas, founded in 990, that the vineyard truly developed. The Breton (Cabernet Franc) grape made its appearance in 1152, following the political union of Anjou and Aquitaine.

 

THE VINEYARD

Location: The Appellation follows the limits of the municipality of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. The vineyard is located on the borders of Touraine and Anjou in the western extension of the Bourgueil, on the upper terrace of the right bank of the Loire.

Area: 2594 acres (1050 hectares)

Soil: The area is situated on a wide terrace of old alluvial deposits, with deep soils composed of sand and gravel. Above the terraces, a third of the vineyard extends along a limestone hillside of Turonian chalk, covered with sand.

Climate: The vineyard is largely open onto the Loire at its confluence with the Vienne where it takes exceptional dimensions and leaves ample room for maritime influences to penetrate. The climate is slightly more oceanic than that of Bourgueil, but with the same forest that protects the sunny slopes from the northern winds.

 

THE WINE

Annual production: About 1,3 million gallons, of which 2 % is rosé

Colours: Red, Rosé

Basic yield: around 3.50 tons per acre

Grapes: Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Sauvignon tolerated to a maximum of 10 % of the blend, but rarely used)

Dominant growing practices: Density of 5,000 plants per hectare. Severely regulated pruning, usually simple Guyot.

 

TASTING

Sensory characteristics:

Brilliant robe, strong, purple colour.

Intense nose of red berries and violets for wines from gravelly soils, raspberry, blackberry, licorice and spices for limestone wines, evolving towards notes of leather and undergrowth.

Soft and flowing for some, dense and meaty for others, all of which become more sober over time. Fresh and balanced finish.

Serving temperature: 14 ° C for young wines of the terraces, 17 ° C for older wines

Laying down: The wines from gravelly soils mature quickly, while limestone wines flourish between 5 and 10 years of aging.

 

 

Touraine Azay-le-Rideau

HISTORY OF TOURAINE AZAY-LE-RIDEAU

The Ridellois vineyard is undoubtedly the cradle of Gallo-Roman viticulture in the Touraine. Today it is the wonderful setting for the Château d'Azay, where royal hosts always served the best wines of the region at their tables.

 

THE VINEYARD

Location: The Apellation thrives across eight communities along the slopes of the Indre-et-Loire, near the confluence of these two rivers.

Area: Approximately 150 acres (60 hectares)

Soil: “Perruches” (flint clays), “aubuis” (clay and limestone) and “aeolian” — sand mixed with clay.

Climate: Mild, favouring the production of sweet wines in certain years.

 

THE WINE

Annual production: around forty thousand gallons, of which 60 % rosé

Colours: Rosé, White and Sweet white

Basic yield: around 3.5 tons per acre

Grapes: Rosés from at least 60% Grolleau, pure or blended with Gamay, Cabernet or Côt. White from 100% Chenin (sometimes vinified as demi-sec)

Dominant growing practices: Density of 6,600 plants per hectare. Guyot or eventail pruning.

 

TASTING

Sensory characteristics:

Clear and brilliant colour for rosés, crystalline for whites.

The rosés have aromas of rose, lilac, pear, cherry, currant and almond. Whites often carry a mineral note, with a dominant of citrus fruits evolving towards quince and apricot.

The palate is elegant and fine for rosés, often ample for whites.

Serving temperature: 10 °C

Laying-down: The rosés are drunk young, whites have exceptional longevity (up to ten years).

 

 

Touraine Noble-Joué

SOME NOTES ON TOURAINE NOBLE-JOUE

Noble-Joué is mentioned in writings from the court of King Louis XI. After achieving the peak of its fame in the nineteenth century, its producers applied for the AOC label in 1939. The outbreak of war led to the application lapsing. Partially destroyed and then eroded by urbanisation, the vineyard gradually faded until 1975, when it was revived by a group of enthusiastic winemakers. It has now regained the full flower of its success, and is to be found on the best tables in the region.

 

THE VINEYARD

Location: Between the rivers Indre and Cher, south of the city of Tours.

Area: Thirty hectares.

Soil: Limestone, clay-limestone and flint clays.

Climate: Temperate, with oceanic influences.

 

THE WINE

Annual production: 160,000 litres

Basic yield: 55 hectolitres per hectare

Average yield: 47 hectolitres per hectare for the last five years

Grapes: An original vin gris, Noble-Joué comes from a subtle blend of three Pinot varieties. Pinot Meunier gives the body and power, Pinot Gris brings fruitiness and finesse, while Pinot Noir contributes roundness and length.

 

TASTING

Appearance: Very pale pink, with gray or silver highlights, hence the name vin gris ("grey wine").

Nose: Notes of currants, wild berries, sometimes fruit sugar drops or meadow flowers.

Palate: A supple palate, rather round, favouring a fresh finish.

Temperature: Serve between 6 and 8 °C

Storage: Best enjoyed as a fresh, young wine.