Domaine Olga Raffault Chinon Rosé 2016
Winegrower: Sylvie Raffault and her husband Eric de la Vigerie
Region: Chinon (Loire Valley), France
Grape: Cabernet Franc
Delivery: June 2018
If I were forced to choose a single bottle of rosé for eternity this Chinon from Domaine Olga Raffault would be one of the top contenders. This wine offers an otherworldly experience of freshness, concentration, fruit and minerality that transcends what your typical rosés have to offer. Ideal for any event involving sunshine you’ll be hard pressed to find another rosé with this much life, energy and terroir-driven personality. If you are not familiar with Olga Raffault this is a perfect way to introduce yourself to one of the winegrower wonders of the Loire Valley. At $25 this rosé delivers excellent price-to-quality and shouldn’t be missed.
Cabernet Franc can express itself in many varied ways depending on its place of origin. Still, the variety’s most classic expression is in the village of Chinon, France. There are many Cabernet Franc winegrowers in the Loire Valley but Domaine Olga Raffault in Chinon has earned, over four generations, a reputation as one of the most outstanding and consistent in the region and most sommeliers, wine writers and collectors would agree that this is an appellation-defining estate. Raffault has been bottling near perfect wines since the middle of last century and one can find 10-year verticals of Raffault Chinon gracing the top wine lists in the world. While this 2016 Chinon Rosé has numerous years of maturation and improvement in its future, it is incredibly delicious now.
Olga Raffault passed away a number of years ago but her granddaughter Sylvie Raffault and her husband Eric de la Vigerie carry on the family’s impressive winegrowing legacy. Sylvie stays true to the traditional style and classic approach that has drawn generations of sommeliers and collectors to the family’s wines. There is nothing modern or trendy here – this is Old School all the way. Farming is done without herbicides or pesticides, all vineyard work is by hand, and whole clusters with stems are fermented using indigenous yeasts and bottled unfiltered. Domaine Olga Raffault does everything at a slow, even pace and often releases their wines three, four or even ten years later than other producers. We applaud this patient, deliberate approach and the timeless wines it produces.
The 2016 Chinon Rosé was made using the Saignée method whereby the wine is stained its brilliant salmon pink by allowing the colour of the grape skins to ‘bleed’ into the juice for 15 hours after maceration. The grape skins are then removed. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks starts slowly with natural, ambient yeasts and the wine is aged on its fine lees to maximize its aromas and flavours.
This is an awesome, gripping and tactile dry Rosé that will be especially loved by terroir geeks and devotees of soil driven Loire Valley wines. It is stunningly delicious and complex, offering loads of crisp, bright, tangy strawberry, cranberry and cherry flavours with a long, mineral and almost saline finish. Brisk, spicy and refreshing, it’s more concentrated than most of its Provençal counterparts and is for anyone who appreciates the fine rosé wines. Serve between 8˚ to 10˚ in Bordeaux stems with this delicious chanterelle and chicken pasta dish.