Chinon Rose: Why Does it Remain a Mystery?

The grape variety (Cabernet Franc), is under-appreciated, comes to life with food and may under-perform at a wine tasting (where it stands alone). The Cabernet Franc grape makes wines that range from tannic to blueberry and violet, with tastes of underbrush and moss, and sometimes green pepper… not appealing to the American palate. Chinon wines do not have a classification system (i.e., restrictions on the types of grapes that can be used to produce the wine), making it a relative relaxed free-for-all. There are no hierarchies among the over 200 vintners leaving the LIKES up to the individual as he/she sips away, trying to solve the mystery of Chinon wines.

•             2020 Domaine Baudry, Chinon Rose

Chinon vineyards are located in a town of the same name with vines planted on the banks of the Vienne River, a tributary of the Loire. Although the area is noted for white wines, Chinon produces mostly red wine from Cabernet Franc and may include up to 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. The vines grow on the stony terraces of the region.

Chinon includes 19 communes and 57 acres at the western edge of the Touraine district, near Anjou.  Chinon roses are noted for being crisp, refreshingly acidic with spice-fruit flavors made mostly from Cabernet Frac with appellation laws permitting up to 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The red wines of Chinon reflect the three types of soil: gravel-sand and clay-sand (closes to the banks of the Loire generate lighter, fresher styles; hillside sites (rich in the local tuffeau jaune) produces more full-bodied, darker, richer spicier wines with more cellaring potential. Tuffeau jaune is yellowish, sedimentary rock from the Loire region where it was formed over 90 million years ago (Turonian era). This fragile rock (a combination of sand and marine fossils), is highly porous and absorbs water rapidly but distributes it slowly.

•             2020 Domaine Baudry, Chinon Rose. Notes. 100 percent estate grown Cabernet Franc from organic vineyards (since 2006)

Considered one of Chinon’s most outstanding producers, Bernard Baudry studied viticulture in Beaune starting his career as a vine-tending consultant at the Tours laboratory where he worked with Jacques Puisais. He returned to the Loire Valley, purchasing 2-hectares of land in Cravant les Coteaux, a village from which almost half of the production of AOC Chinon is sourced (1972). His domain has expanded and now includes 32 hectares that practice organic farming and precise vinification’s styled to each terroir. The vineyards are located on very varied terroirs of gravel in the plan, limestone clay on coteau and sandy limestone plateaus. Matthieu Baudry studied in the Macon area, then in Bordeaux working in Tasmania and California. He joined the family vineyard in 2000.

The 2020 Baudry Chinon Rose is one of the most desired roses in France with its subtle, silks-texture and balance thanks to organic farming, great terroir (50 percent flint, 50 percent alluvial), and hands off vindication with minimal sulfur. The vines are cultivated without using synthetic chemical or herbicides. Harvested by hand and pressed gently with skin, then fermented only with indigenous yeasts. The wines are bottled unfiltered.

The beauty of this wine starts with the coral pink hue, and the aroma enhances the experience by presenting strong florals and fruits (yellow apples, white peaches, raspberries). The palate finds fresh stone fruit, wild strawberries, alpine herbs, emitting a taste experience that is super crisp and dry with crunchy acidity. A long delicious finish that mingles fruit and flowers that are both strong and subtle. A work of art that stands alone (as an aperitif) and plays well with shrimp/prawn salad, barbecued red meat, beef bourguignon or beef salad.

© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

Read Part 1 here: Learning about the wines of the Loire Valley on a NYC Sunday

Read Part 2 here: French Wines: The Worst Production Since 1970

Read Part 3 here: Wines – Chenin Blanc Warning: From Yummy to Yucky

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