Aged Old-School Chinon for a Song

The word is finally out.

Until recently, only insiders, and a few well-informed collectors, knew that Loire Valley Cabernet Franc was capable of producing some of France's most singular red wines. 

But with the emerging superstardom of Clos Rougeardand a handful of Rougeard disciplesthe world is finally awakening to the excitement possible when the Loire's best Cabernet Franc terroirs are put in the hands of great vignerons.

Yet, the full glory of the best wines comes only with age. It takes time for pure Cabernet Franc from one the region’s top sites to reveal its depth and nuance. That is exactly what we have in the 2007 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses

And if you’re anxious to see what further age will do for your 2007 Picasses, we’ve created a very special 6-pack, consisting of five bottles of ’07 Picasses plus an equally pristine bottle of 1990 Picasses. 

Traditional Giant
Pierre Raffault had already established the domaine as one of Chinon’s best before World War II. But his tragic death just prior to the 1947 harvest suddenly placed his wife Olga in charge, and she quickly demonstrated her skill and drive by making the most of this legendary vintage.

Olga never wavered from the traditional path, which included up to three years aging in neutral oak—and very old school chestnut—foudre, and today granddaughter Sylvie Raffault and her husband Eric de la Vigerie continue with the same methods.

But the lynchpin in Les Picasses’ breed and longevity is one of Chinon’s greatest terroirs—a steep south-facing slope of clay over a limestone base, rising dramatically up from the Vienne River, planted to half-century-old vines.

The 2007: A Fantastic Bargain
Depending on the soil, Chinon can be simply fruit-driven and bracingly refreshing, or structured and serious, but it is only the best sites that produce complete wines, seamlessly marrying power, complexity and elegance in equal measure. Raffault’s 2007 Les Picasses has this in spades.

It offers compelling evidence of the heights that Chinon from a great traditional grower and site can achieve. Whether on its own—or in a six-pack with a bottle of 1990—this is a steal relative to its grace and distinction.

John Gilman: “92+ rating ... outstanding ... quite elegant ... with nicely integrated tannins and superb potential ... scents of black cherries, cassis, gravelly soil tones, cigar ash, espresso and just a hint of the citrus zest that should arrive with further bottle age. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and really beautifully focused ... I love its purity and superb balance ... may well be one of my favorite of the most recent vintages. While it is approachable today, a few more years of patience will be rewarded with a wine in full bloom. (Drink between 2016-2035)”

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