Browse Tag


Tony Roches

Lenoir 2001 Chinon “Les Roches” (Loire) — Papillote layers of fine-grained earth, the baritone hum of a pastoral countryside, light grit. A wine you want to chew. And can. (7/16)

Photo sharing

[raffault]Olga Raffault 1979 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) — Genius wine in the full-throated prime of its life, and in fact so far from being on the downslope that it’s hilarious. Dark, leathery, peppery, and yet heavily-fruited. Kaleidoscopic soul. (5/16)

Between a rock & a hard place

[lenoir]Lenoir “Les Roches” 2006 Chinon (Loire) — A disagreement about the quality of these wines (it’s 2 pro-, 2 anti- in our over-lubricated group) leads to a quick cellar run, and while this is pretty and somewhat rustic it doesn’t make a strong case for itself…though personally, I wouldn’t be opening one of these now; all my best experiences with Lenoir involve a lot more age. If it seems like I’m not saying much about the wine…well, I’m not, because there’s not much to say, other than the previous. Leave it be. (4/16)

Call of Dutheil

Couly-Dutheil 2008 Chinon “La Baronnie Madeleine” (Loire) – A lovely, light-bodied Chinon, with pale earth, mixed dark green herbs, and tangy red fruit. The thing is, while it’s all nice enough, it feels as if I’m drinking it through a gauzy mask…as if the wine’s full expression is being held back somehow. I don’t mind something in the middle range between bistro Chinon and the “real” thing, but I don’t think Couly-Dutheil’s history suggests that it should be inhabiting that range, and yet it fairly often does. Or maybe I’m being overly demanding. (7/12)

Picasses? Oh.

C&P Breton 1997 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Really beautiful, singing in full-throated joy at its maturity (which is probably at peak right now, though it will almost certainly hold for a good while longer, after which softer melodies will be what it offers). Black and dark green herbs, grass, tobacco, dusty coal-black minerality, and a sawtooth-edged structure…all of which somehow managed to, in concert, present themselves as strangely “pretty.” I love this wine, and wish I had a lot more of it, rather than just a few bottles. (9/11)

She knows white, too

JM Raffault 2010 Chinon Blanc (France) – Mineral-driven (no surprise from Loire chenin), though as Chinon rather than one of the more popular chenin appellations, the rocky take’s quite a bit different. Dry – I don’t mean in the sense of lacking sugar, though it does, but in the parched sensation provided by the wine’s stony starkness – with a bit of wax and a sort dense flesh of monotonality. It’s better than that, though. I’m struggling to find the correct descriptors here, as one might notice. (8/11)

How, how, how, how

B. Baudry 2009 Chinon Les Granges (Loire) – Lucious spiced rock, loamy earth, misted herb, and fruit dust. That complex, and yet simpler than that as well. I could quite happily drink this in open-spigot quantities. (6/11)

Everything Olga is new again

Olga Raffault 1995 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Singing. It’s a rustic country tune, but it’s in full-throated voice at the moment. Distilled-down concentrate of old autumns, full of the memory of blackberries passed, with a crackled structure. Or, to employ a similarly stretchy metaphor, like drinking bichromatic stained glass. (2/11)

Picasses…no, pick them

C&P Breton 1997 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Expansive. It throws down a game board – a virtual one, I think, because it’s expansive – of soil, vegetation, and fungal growth, then starts layering it with sprinkler-sprays of matured dark plums, black truffles, earthdust, thyme broth…and then those repeat in random order. Lush with flavor but not in texture, its elbows and knees only add to the overall appeal. Really, really good. Could it hold, or even develop, longer? Yes, I think so. But it’s very enticing now. (2/11)

As the Croix flies

Baudry 2007 Chinon La Croix Boissée (Loire) – Limber. Morels and ripe green herbs. Liquid mami encased within a beautiful structure. Full of promise. (1/11)