An expression says that uncorking a bottle of Chinon is drinking a "wine loyal to Rabelais". It is true that the great humanist was born on the lands of this AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). However, this drink has acquired its nobility through its history, but above all through its inimitable taste.
Overview of the Chinon appellation
The first mentions of the Chinon vineyard goes back to the Gallo-Roman era. Over the centuries, it became famous until Rabelais paid tribute to it in his "Gargantua". Today, Chinon wines are known throughout France, but also in the United States where their popularity continues to grow.
This production area is located on the banks of the Vienne River in the Indre-et-Loire. It stretches over 26 communes and covers an area of 2 400 hectares. Each year, it produces nearly 13 million wine bottles. Moreover, it is considered that the vineyard gives the largest volume of red wines in the Loire. However, this does not prevent it from producing quality whites and rosés.
Winegrowers work with different grape varieties depending on the drinks they are looking for. Cabernet franc noir is used to produce red and rosé wines. To produce white wines, they use Cabernet Sauvignon Noir.
These grape plants grow on three types of soil. Near the banks of the Loire and Vienne rivers, the soil is composed of sand and gravel. On the top of the slopes, the soil has a high concentration of sand and flint clay. Finally, on the limestone knolls, chalk and tufa are dominant.
Chinon wines owe their characteristics to the climate of this part of France. The vineyard benefits from a temperate oceanic climate. It is one of the few places in France where winds from different directions blow through.
The distinctive signs of the Chinon appellation
The three Chinon wines each have their own characteristics. In their youth, the reds have a light ruby colour. On the nose, they develop scents of red fruits such as redcurrant or cherry. On the palate, they are very aromatic.
The rosé wines are distinguished by their light ruby colour. They exhale aromas of red fruits such as strawberry, blackcurrant or prune. On the palate, they have fruity flavours and intense floral tastes.
The whites, on the other hand, have a light straw yellow colour. You'll recognize them by their citrus scent. There are also hints of honey, quince, flowers and cloves. Finally, these Chinon wines have a roundness in the mouth. They are both supple and fresh.
Wine tourism to better understand the Chinon appellation
Are you looking for a good brand to make a purchase of Chinon wines? Why not visit a vineyard? Take the opportunity to find out more about this extraordinary wine.
At the Domaine Dozon, you will learn a lot about this wine from the Indre-et-Loire region. You will find this vineyard at Saut au Loup in Ligré, on the left bank of the Vienne river. The owner of the place will explain you the different processes to obtain exceptional Chinon wines.
You can also visit Cravant-les-Côteaux in the Domaine Pierre Sourdais. The winegrowers will introduce you to the transformation of Cabernet Franc into an emblematic regional wine. And at the end of the visit, don't leave without buying some Chinon wines.
Don't hesitate to ask which dishes to choose with your purchases. For your information, rosé wines make perfect companions for deli meats. The reds are ideal with red meats in sauce such as veal garlic or rabbit chasseur. Finally, whites are best served with fish dishes such as monkfish.