Browse Tag


O. yes

O. Raffault 1990 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Very soft. Large-scaled herbality, espresso, raw musculature, and thick, almost syrupy black fruit. I guess this isn’t ready yet. But if one needs a Chinon to “convince” a dedicated, green-fearing Chinon-skeptic, this might do the job. (5/10)

Baudry limericks

B. Baudry 2002 Chinon Les Grézeaux (Loire) – Lovely and so authentic, layering cherry earth on top of fine-grained herbality. Flawlessly balanced. A beauty. (1/10)


Joguet 2004 Chinon Les Petites Roches (Loire) – Salted hearty dark greens still rooted in dark soil, blackberry dust, and a very slightly sandpapery structure (fine grit). Closing up, but still pretty good, and yet I wonder if it might not have been better to drink this one young. (8/09)

ZZ Top

[cellar]Bernard Baudry 2007 Chinon “Les Granges” (Loire) – Roughly chopped herbs and bits of earth with dark green-tinged fruit. Not a cocktail wine, but highly versatile with food. Balanced and lightly-structured for short-term aging. (7/09)

Far from Faller

JM Raffault 2006 Chinon Clos des Capucins (Loire) – The parts are mostly there…slightly bitter cherries, a certain rusticity, herbs, earth, some cold mushrooms…but they never really coalesce into anything particularly interesting. The rusty, brackish fruit just sort of sits there, wan and underdeveloped. Maybe time will help. But probably not. Kudos, however, for the ridiculously heavy and over-designed bottle, which is going to increase the bicep strength of retailers everywhere, should they wish to stock this wine. (4/09)

Jean-Luc Picasses

Olga Raffault 1995 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Peaty earth and chalk dust with a light herbaceousness plus a dense (but not powerful) core of black cherry. Great acidity. Long and complex. While this is showing signs of its eventual maturity, it’s definitely not there yet. (3/05)

To the left, to the left

[vineyards]Plouzeau 2006 Chinon “Rive Gauche” (Loire) – Straddles some sort of middle ground between the bistro-style Chinon of yore and the more serious, earthier, complex kind of which wine geeks are enamored. I’m unsure if the middle ground works here. It’s not light enough for chilly glugging, but it doesn’t stand up to intense scrutiny either. Overall, it’s a pretty drinkable wine, with black fruit residue, a bit of black rock, perhaps an herb or ten, and no lack of crispness. But it will require the right mood. (6/08)


[vineyard]Olga Raffault 1997 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Bludgeoning. All structure and herb-infused soil; thickness and density without any letup. In no way, shape, or form should this be uncorked now. (4/08)


[chai]Joguet 2005 Chinon “Cuvée Terroir” (Loire) – The 2003 was lush with succulent fruit, the 2004 was razor-edged green, and while the size of the fruit in this version falls somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, the structure is an entirely different matter. Waves of dense, drying tannin – never off-putting, but inexorable all the same – roll across the palate. One to age, clearly, though as with so many of these 2005s it is no clear thing that the wine will survive its skins. (4/08)

TN: The big enclosure

[bottles]Joguet 2002 Chinon Les Varennes du Grand Clos (Loire) – Surprisingly advanced, showing beautiful balance and poise, but with aromas moving quickly from primary fresh twig, berry skin, and nutshells to something more engagingly earthy and decayed/autumnal. The wine has softened a lot since release, and while there’s enough structure that there’s no need to panic, the quick advancement is puzzling. I’d have thought this would take longer to develop tertiary characteristics. (6/07)