The Wines Of Touraine cont 3
Red, rosé and white wines from an appellation covering 1,200 hectares on the
left bank of the
Loire and both banks of its tributary the Vienne, between Tours and Saumur.
The tiny production of white wine is from the Chenin Blanc (Pineau de la Loire),
with the typical floral bouquet and lively character of the grape, but is
sometimes a little tart.
The reds (and rosés) are made from the Cabernet Franc, known locally as 'le
Breton', grown on three different types of soil: the sandy-gravelly soil along
the banks of the Vienne produces light, fruity wines for early drinking; the
more gravelly soil with some clay on the plateaux produces a wine with more body
and depth; while the heavier tuffeau lends a further element of intensity and
flavour, particularly if the vines are planted en coteaux.
The best vineyards are at Chinon itself, Cravant-lès-Coteaux, Savigny-en-Véron
A good Chinon should have an entrancing ruby colour, a pronounced aroma of
crushed flowers (violets) and an impression of soft fruit with a refreshing
finish, where the terroir is matched by the elegant smoothness of the Cabernet
The wines have great charm and can usually be drunk the year after the vintage,
while the better cuvées and better vintages can improve for 5—15 years.
As at Bourgueil, with which it is often compared, the quality is as much if not
more dependent on how the wine is made than where it is grown. Around 7 million
bottles are produced, under 1% of which is white.