2020 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Barnabes
Over many decades and five generations, Domaine Olga Raffault has gained cult status as unquestionably one of the benchmark producers for top-quality, traditional Chinon. These are beautifully balanced and complex medium bodied reds. The fruit is elegant and refined with extremely fine tannins, earthy but with plenty of acidity and a mineral edge. They drink wonderfully on release but are also capable of aging for decades. Olga Raffault has a very intriguing history, There are few women who have given their names to estates in the Loire Valley, but Olga Raffault is one of them. She took over the reins of the Domaine under tragic circumstances: She and her husband Pierre had operated this estate together until he died unexpectedly just before harvest in 1947. Without him Olga was left to run the business alone, assisted by Ernest Zenninger, a German prisoner of war who had found refuge and work at Raffault years earlier. According to the family, the "courageous and generous German" did not understand the war and found meaning through the deep friendship that he wove with his ‘Protectors,’ the Raffault family. In return he made a promise to devote his life to Olga and her two children at the last moments of Pierre Raffault. Ernest became the winemaker at the Domaine and mentored Olga’s son Jean Raffault as he grew up. The two of them ran the estate as a team for decades, under Olga’s watchful eye, until Jean’s daughter Sylvie and her husband Eric de la Vigerie took over in 2000. Raffault has terrific plots of land in the Véron, a strip of land with sandy and gravelly soils where the Vienne River intersects with the much larger Loire. They farm 24 hectares with vines averaging over 30 years in age. Most of it Cabernet Franc with a minuscule one hectare of Chenin Blanc. Raffault have a very minimalist approach both in the vineyard and the winery. The grapes are always hand-picked, only native yeasts are used, and they choose not to destem the bunches before fermentation begins in stainless steel. The wines are then aged slowly in larger, neutral oak and chestnut - a traditional wood barrel in the region.
What The Critics Say
91/100 View from the cellar, John Gilman
"As I have mentioned in the past, the Chinon “les Barnabés” from Domaine Olga Raffault is a single vineyard bottling, with the vines planted on sandier soils. The wine is raised in foudres and the 2020 version offers up a fine, vibrant and deep nose of cassis, dark berries, cigar ash, lovely soil tones, a touch of juniper berry and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is bright, fullish and nicely transparent in personality, with a solid core of fruit, lovely soil undertow, moderate tannins and a long, complex and well balanced finish. This is the type of wine that puts on weight with bottle age and I would not be surprised to see this be the case here in the years to come. It is certainly already quite tasty, but more complexity and depth is bound to come with further bottle age. 2023-2065+. "
92/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Stephan Reinhardt (2018 vintage)
"From the commune of Savigny-en-Véron, the 2018 Chinon Les Barnabés is sourced from the alluvial soils of the Loire and the gravels from the Vienne. The wine opens pure, clear and fresh, but it's also deep and concentrated, with spicy notes of ripe cherries, black berries, raspberries and violets. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, this is an intense, dense, round and fruity Chinon with a sweet and remarkably long and soft but elegant and refined finish. The tannins are remarkably fine, and the charming licorice sweetness is reminiscent of fine and elegant wines from the Languedoc or even Southern Rhône."
17/20 JancisRobinson.com, Jancis Robinson MW (2018 vintage)
"Bright garnet. Fragrant and hedonistic. Pure pleasure! Light ink after the fruit. Nothing forced. What’s not to like?!"
|2022 - 2028
This Wine Goes Well With
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