Channel: Le Sommelier
Producer: Jean-Maurice Raffault
Appellation: Chinon AOP
Grapes: Cabernet Franc
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Sugar Content: Unknown
Les Picasses is a famous Loire Valley vineyard site, shared by a few producers, and coveted by more. It’s a plateau formed in the triangular peninsula whose western tip is the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne. It’s in Chinon, on the south side of the big river about halfway between Angers and Tours. The bedrock of soil is ‘Loire blanc’, the easy to carve and light to carry limestone, called Tuffeau, that built the great Chateaux of the region and can do magical things to Cabernet Franc.
The 2018 J.M. Raffault Les Picasses is a deep dark brooding organic Cabernet Franc from old vines with a long finish of black fruits. The fruit is completely ripe but the acid is bright; it wants red meat, or mushrooms. At 14.5% it’s big, but it’s in balance and shows a Loire Valley elegance. Before the pandemic, this wine was a semi-secret bargain on many of Toronto’s more sophisticated wine lists. It’s nice to see it back in a glass.