The wines from Chinon
“This wine is round, full bodied, and so robust !” This used to be the way the wine from Chinon was described a few years ago. The Chinon red wine is made from the Cabernet franc grape variety planted on each side of the Vienne river. The hillside sort is full-bodied, tannic, leafy and berry-scented. One can consider this wine as humanistic like Rabelais, our famous Renaissance playwright, born in Chinon.
The appellation, created in 1937, was named after the well-known historic town of Chinon and its remarkable medieval fortress, partly built and home to the Plantagenet family during the twelfth century.
The Chinon red wine, well-known abroad!
The first vineyards were established during the 4th century. Thanks to the Loire and Vienne rivers, the wine production could be exported, which contributed to its success at the court of King Henri II Plantagenet, King Philippe Auguste or King Charles VII. During the Middle-Ages, Chinon was a lively and prosperous town and it was partly due to the wine trade!
Five centuries later, the Chinon wine was exported at a larger scale from Nantes to Holland and Great Britain. As the white wine made from the Chenin grape variety became popular, winegrowers started the production to satisfy their consumers!
Red, rosé and white wines!
Nowadays, the vineyard covers an area of 2 300 ha with more than 13 million bottles of wine produced. Red wine is the great majority. It is made from the Cabernet grape and is raised in the local troglodyte caves where temperature is constant and ideal for the ageing. In these conditions, the wine can be kept for a long time. Prestigious vintages from 1947, 1976, 1989, 1990… still exist and are well known from the French but also from foreign connoisseurs from the Unites States, Canada, Great Britain or Belgium where 500 000 bottles in all are exported.
Considering the French current taste, rosé wines are up to 10 % of the production. It drops to 5 % concerning the white wines… but this proportion doubled these last years. This reminds us of the past especially since wine producers decided to use amphorae to raise their wines. The advantage? Clay jars increase the wine micro-oxygenation and thus enhances the typical grape flavors!
Where can you taste and buy the Chinon wines?
More than 150 wine growers produce wines with the Chinon appellation on clay-limestone or sandy clay soils. Some are located on the hillsides along the Vienne River or north of Chinon, in a place called les puys du chinonais. This area is particularly warm with a Mediterranean kind of climate, making the wines particularly tasty.
But you know what? Why not come and have a look for yourself! You will have a large choice of wineries to visit and wines to taste along with a great variety of activities like a wine themed escape game or the visit of the “cave de la Sibylle” and its contemporary scenography… Live an unforgettable experience! Click on the map just below.