2006 Jean-Maurice Raffault "Clos des Capucins" Chinon (Previously $26)

SKU #1047262

92 points Wine Spectator: "Really packed for the vintage, with nearly lush raspberry ganache and blackberry fruit flavors laid over bittersweet cocoa, macerated olive and spice. The long, fine-grained finish lets the minerality shine. Drink now through 2011. 50 cases imported." (12/08) Smack dab in the middle of the Loire Valley, near Tours, you can fine the famed estate of Jean-Maurice Raffault. Now run by his son, Rodolphe, the estate has been family run since 1693 and continues to put out benchmark Chinons. This is a new and very special bottling of one of the finest vineyard sites in Chinon. And, what could be considered a "Grand Cru" vineyard that dates back to 1790. Only one-half hectares of Cabernet Franc with an average age of 50 years are planted on the south-facing terraced slope. The clay-siliceous soil and fantastic exposure ensures optimal ripening conditions. After a 28-day maceration period and a fermentation process that is done in new and 1- to 2-year-old barriques. The wine is allowed to rest in the old cool limestone cellars for 18 months before bottling. This is a very sexy and expressive Chinon. Bright red cherries and spice intertwine with dark berries and chocolate. Supple tannin structure and gentle minerality lends its hand to the focus and complexity of the wine. Opens up nicely in the glass and could benefit from some time in the bottle.

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Price: $19.99
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Staff Image By: Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/25/2009 | Send Email
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I have been drinking a lot of Cabernet Franc lately, so I was eager to try this new Chinon from Raffault. Opened a bottle at dinner last night and...wow. Just...wow. Unbelievably concentrated for the 2006 vintage - I would have sworn it was '05. Plummy fruit and a bit closed at first, then it opened up nicely to warm raspberries, peppery spice and a hint of pencil shavings on the nose. Approachable now with about an hour in the decanter, this one could definitely age. A huge bargain when you compare the price to similar bottles from Joguet, for example.

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Cabernet Franc

- While Cabernet Franc, a parent with Sauvignon Blanc to the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon, frequently plays second fiddle in Bordeaux blends (though it does get more props on the Right Bank, where it dominates Cheval Blanc), this lighter, higher acid/lower tannin, early-maturing, perfumed red varietal is far from a wallflower. It is the headliner in the Loire Valley appellations of Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil, St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Chinon and Anjou-Villages, where it makes exceptional, food-friendly wines. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc can be found in northern Italy, particularly in Friuli and in California where it is frequently used as a blending grape in Bordeaux-style wines. Heartier in the cold than Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc is gaining a foothold in northern and eastern wine regions like Canada, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.


- Of all of the French wine producing regions, the Loire might produces the greatest variety of wines. They range from still to sparkling, very dry and acidic to hearty sweet, and clear in color to a deep purple. The diversity of wine produced in this region is due in part to its dynamic climate, which ranges from Continental to Mediterranean. This region is best known for Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc and Cabernet Franc. The most famous areas in the Loire Valley may be Sancerre and Vouvray.