Chinon, emblematic wines in the heart of the Loire Valley
In the heart of the Loire Valley, in the land of Rabelais, Chinon offers one of the best known red wines of the vast Loire vineyards. But the appellation also produces rosé wines, whose production, although a minority, is increasing year after year. And whites, even more confidential, are also revealed on the banks of the Vienne and the Loire. A historic wine of the Loire Valley, Chinon AOC is distinguished by its elegance and refinement, virtues maintained and developed by winemakers who are ever more diligent in their work.
General presentation of Chinon
The Chinon appellation area is located in the Touraine vineyards, in the heart of the Loire Valley. Just a stone's throw from the châteaux of the Loire, the vineyards stretch around Chinon and its famous fortress, the domain of the kings of France until the end of the 15th century. In this royal setting, the Chinon AOC comprises some twenty communes spread out on either side of the Vienne and on the left bank of the Loire. The Chinon vineyard is adjacent to the equally renowned Bourgueil vineyard.
Between Saumur and Tours, Chinon has both a unique climate and a great diversity of soils. The vines are spread over the terraces of the Vienne and the Loire, on the top of the hillsides and on the limestone hillsides characteristic of the region. The wines of the appellation are therefore characterised by their quality and great diversity.
The grape varieties are also perfectly revealed in the wines of Chinon. In red wines, Cabernet Franc dominates. This grape variety of the great red wines of the Loire was already praised by the tasty pen of Rabelais. The red wines of Chinon can make use of Cabernet Sauvignon; it is authorised for 10% of the vineyard. The rosé wines use these same grape varieties.
The white wines of Chinon reveal all the qualities of the white grape variety par excellence of the Loire: Chenin. It gives rise to great dry white wines, which represent barely 2% of Chinon's production.
Characteristics of Chinon
Chinon AOC red wines offer great variety, due to the diversity of soils that characterise the region. These wines are sometimes light, sometimes powerful, sometimes supple in the mouth, sometimes full-bodied. In all cases, a Chinon AOC red wine is convivial and pleasant to drink.
Generally speaking, their colour is light, with purple or garnet highlights. Their aromas are largely based on red fruits such as strawberry, raspberry, cherry or redcurrant. They also have notes of stewed black fruit, such as blackberry or blackcurrant. Hints of sweet spices (cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla) further enrich this gourmet aromatic palette.
As for their ageing potential, the reds will blossom after 2-3 years. The most structured wines reveal themselves perfectly after about ten years of ageing, or even more for the best vintages.
Rosé wines are distinguished by their salmon pink colour. The nose reveals notes of lychee and apple. On the palate, aromas of rose, small red fruits and citrus fruits such as grapefruit or lemon enhance the tasting.
The white wines, almost confidential in the Chinon AOC, are very pale gold in colour. Fresh and mineral on the palate, they evoke citrus fruits, flowers, as well as quince and apple.
How to taste a Chinon
A red wine from the Chinon appellation can easily accompany an entire meal. It goes well with both simple and sophisticated dishes, from pot-au-feu to navarin, grilled beef, game, tajine or rack of lamb with chanterelles. A red Chinon also goes well with many cheeses: Comté, Brie de Meaux, goat's cheese, Camembert, Rocamadour... And for dessert, the sweet flavours of red fruit go very well with this Loire wine.
The rosés of the Chinon appellation are excellent as an aperitif. They also accompany fish, whether cooked in sauce or grilled.
Finally, Chinon AOC white wines go well with charcuterie dishes as well as seafood, grilled fish, summer salads, white meat, poultry and cold meat dishes.
For their serving temperature, a red Chinon should be served between 15 and 18° depending on its quality and the vintage. Rosés and whites are best served chilled, at a temperature of around 10-12°.