The Chinon protected designation of origin within the Loire Valley primarily includes reds but can also include the occasional white or rosé. These wines are highly reputable and can be either light and delicate or powerful and robust.
What you need to know
Chinon was visited by a number of kings and queens up until the Richelieu era. It was also the birthplace of Rabelais. The climate of the Chinon protected destination of origin is oceanic to the west and particularly continental to the east. Depending on the soil type, the region is used to produce “gravel wine” (sandy and pebbly soil) and “tuff wine” (clay and limestone soil on the plateaus and hillsides). Tuff soil warms up gradually in the spring, producing robust wines that can be stored for longer periods of time, especially with respect to the red wines. Gravel wines have a fruity and less pronounced flavor when they are young but become more refined as they age. The very few white wines produced in the Chinon protected destination of origin are made from chenin grapes, while the reds and rosés are made from cabernet franc. Cabernet sauvignon grapes are also allowed, but can make up no more than 10% of the composition. The region features a unique microclimate that is especially well suited to cabernet franc. The hillsides receive abundant sun, and the influence of the ocean extends into the wide confluence of the Loire and Vienne Rivers.
How to use
Storing a Chinon
Depending on the type, red wines from the Chinon protected destination of origin can be kept for 2 to 5 years or for 10 to 20 years.
Preparing and serving a Chinon
Young wines from the Chinon protected destination of origin should be served at 57-59 °F.
The oldest vintages should be served at 60-62 °F.
Tasting a Chinon
It is best to pour out young wines into a pitcher 2-3 hours before serving to allow the flavors to become more mellow. The oldest vintages should be decanted to heighten their aromas.
Rosés wines from the Chinon protected designation of origin: Charcuterie.
White wines from the Chinon protected designation of origin: Fish.
Red wines from the Chinon protected designation of origin: Grilled food and white meat pair best with young, fruity wines. Stew, meat served with a sauce, and game pair well with bolder wines with broader aromas.