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Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Galuches Chinon 2009

Cabernet Franc from Chinon, Touraine, Loire, France
  • WS90
13% ABV
  • W&S93
  • WS92
  • RP88
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Les Galuches vineyard lies near the river on sandy-gravel soil made up of old alluvial deposits. This terroir warms very early, so the wine attains a sweet and lush texture.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Very fresh and racy, displaying a great core of black cherry, cherry pit, bitter orange and sweet tobacco, all held together by lots of chalky minerality. A nice briar twinge completes the finish. Drink now through 2014. 500 cases imported. —J.M.
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Jean-Maurice Raffault

Jean-Maurice Raffault

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Jean-Maurice Raffault, Chinon, Touraine, Loire, France
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Jean-Maurice Raffault's famed Chinon estate is now run by his son Rodolphe. Chinon is located in the central Loire valley, near Tours, and is the northernmost French red wine appellation. The family has been vignerons in Chinon since 1693 and the estate now comprises 40 hectares spread over 6 communes. Raffault harvests his Cabernet Francs as late as possible and vinifies each parcel separately. Fermentation can last up to one month with daily pumping over for maximum extraction of color and flavors. The wines are then aged in Bordeaux barrels in his remarkable 54 degree cellar (caves cut into the limestone slopes) and are bottled without filtration. Raffault is one of the few Chinon producers still using oak barrels to produce stable, tannic wines with impressive structure and intensity of fruit. It's fascinating to taste the ultimate expression of the Cabernet Franc varietal in the range of styles made by this very talented winemaker.

Rodolphe Raffault obtained a post graduate degree in Chemistry in Tours and then studied for the National Diploma in Oenology from the University of Dijon. After taking his degree, Rodolphe spent 2 years in Burgundy as a stagiere, followed by another stage at a Loire Co-op. In 1997, he joined his father Jean-Maurice, at the family domaine in Chinon which had by then grown to 40 hectares. He has been in charge of the vineyards and winemaking since the 2000 vintage. Rodolphe is proud to perpetuate his family's heritage as wine-growers, which began in 1693. He is particularly motivated to continue his late father's innovation of single-site bottling in Chinon, for example with his revival of the historic Clos des Capucins vineyard. Going forward, Rodolphe Raffault is evolving his vineyards in the direction of sustainable and organic viticulture.

Raffault’s Chinons are wonderfully expressive wines which go together with a wide variety of classic French dishes but their natural fruity acidities make them fine matches for Asiatic cuisine, grilled fish, and spicy American foods. For wines with such depth and complexity, they also represent remarkable value.

An important red wine appellation in the Touraine district of the Loire, Chinon produces fanciful, light-bodied reds from the Cabernet Franc grape. Chinon also makes charming rosés from the same grape as well as white wines from Chenin blanc. But the reds give the area its fame. Often scented with fresh herbs, black tea and violets, Chinon reds show a lovely combination of fruit and acidity. However, styles have become more concentrated and ripe in recent years from improvements in vineyard management. Modern methods include planting grass between vineyard rows, using higher trellises and deleafing to increase sunlight to berries and therefore improve ripening. Even still, red Chinon is intended to be a light to medium bodied, refreshing wine to be enjoyed in its youth.

Fuller-bodied Chinons come from vineyard sites on the clay and tuffeau limestone slopes, usually from the southern exposed slopes of Cravant-les-Coteaux, and the plateau above Beaumont. Lighter styled wines come from the sand and gravel vineyards near the Loire or Vienne Rivers with the most refined examples coming from the area around Panzoult

Cabernet Franc

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The subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets, Cabernet Franc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and shares many of the structural elements of Bordeaux’s cornerstone variety. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is often planted as an insurance policy against its later-ripening offspring, as it is more likely to thrive in a difficult harvest. But don’t mistake Cabernet Franc for merely a supporting player—this grape variety produces outstanding wines on its own or as the dominant component of a blend. It produces perhaps its most alluring wines in France’s Loire Valley, in the regions of Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur-Champigny, where brighter, riper wines can be achieved. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc has performed quite well in parts of California, New York, and Virginia.

In the Glass

Paler, lighter, crisper, softer, and much more aromatic than its progeny, Cabernet Franc typically tastes of red raspberries, cherries, and herbs, with a stunning perfume of violets, tobacco, and spice.

Perfect Pairings

Mouthwatering acidity makes Cabernet Franc an incredibly food-friendly wine, helping to cut through the richness of fatty meat dishes. It especially shines in tandem with lamb, and its affinity for the spice cabinet allows it to pair perfectly with Chinese dishes prepared with Szechuan pepper and five-spice.

Sommelier Secrets

Under-ripe Cabernet Franc can be leafy and green with harsh tannins and mouth-searing acidity, so it is best to avoid highly spiced curries and fiery chili dishes.

AIWGALUCHES_2009 Item# 108039