Domaine Olga Raffault
Winegrower: Domaine Olga Rafault
Region: Chinon (Loire, France)
Grape: Cabernet Franc, Chenin blanc
With 60 years of history, Domaine Olga Rafault continues to make unapologetically wild Chinon that can arguably be claimed to be France's benchmark Cabernet Franc. Legendary matriarch Olga Rafault started the domaine sixty years ago and quickly became a leading figure in the Chinon appellation. Though Olga Rafault passed away a few years ago her granddaughter Sylvie and her husband Eric carry on the family’s impressive winemaking legacy. Sylvie and Eric have remained faithful to the traditional style and classic approach that has historically drawn top sommeliers to the family’s wines. Grapes are farmed on the estates 24 hectares without herbicides or pesticides, are hand-picked and then fermented in whole clusters with no destemming. The wine is then aged in large neutral oak barrels before being bottled with minimal or no sulfur. These are deep, savory, perfumed wines hailing from top crus like "Les Picasses" in the subdistrict of Savigny-en-Véron. The pedigree and consistency of the estate goes back decades, so it is unsurprising that in Paris, London, and almost every metropolitan wine mecca, Raffault is a recognized as a top producer of Chinon.
The estate makes three cuvées of red, les Picasses, les Barnabés and les Peuilles, and a limited-quantity white wine from the Chenin grape, Chinon Blanc le Champ-Chenin.
Within the Rafault portfolio, Les Picasses is the most prestigious and age worthy example of Chinon's terroir - arguably, it's the best example in the appellation. Grown on classic limestone soils, the vines are over 50 years old, their age donating added depth to the final wine. While producers on Bordeaux's right bank may try to calm Cabernet Franc's natural spice and rusticity through blending and lots of oak, this Chinon is unblended and wonderfully pure.