Jean-Maurice Raffault is one of the great personalities of Chinon. Upon taking over the family Domaine in 1973, he revolutionised local practices and put new practices in place that were widely emulated in the region. Beginning with only the 4.5 hectares he inherited from his father Maurice, Jean-Maurice purchased and planted some of the finest known sites of Chinon. Rodolphe Raffault succeeded his father as winemaker and manager in 1997. Drawing on his experience in Burgundy, Rodolphe initiated the practice, for this top cuvees, of carrying out the wine’s malolactic fermentation in 100% new barrels. This practice, rare in Chinon, results in dramatically expressive and pure wines.
100% Cabernet Franc
Clos de L’Hospice:
Once owned by Rabelais’ descendants, the Clos was highly prized in times past and was regularly mentioned in historical documents. It belonged to the convent of Calvarian and Augustinian nuns from the 17th century through the French Revolution, where it served as a source of income for their hospital – hence its name: The Clos de l’Hospice.
Preferring to tend to their vegetables, in 1876 the sisters allowed local vignerons to maintain the vineyard. This arrangement continued until the vineyards was devastated during the Phylloxera epidemic.
Despite various projects, the Clos remained unplanted with vines until 2008. Amazingly enough, up until the 1980s, the land was used as a garden by hospital patients. The hospital relocated in 1989 and sold the land, which enabled the Clos de l’Hospice to eventually become a vineyard once again. In 2008, Rodolphe Raffaut revived the site for his Domaine in cooperation with the town of Chinon and an investment group who had undertaken the renovation of the Chateau – itself a national historic monument – along with the construction of new residences at the site of the former convent.
Vineyard & Vinification Note
In early 2008, the Clos de l’Hospice, one of Chinon’s greatest sites, was replanted by Rodolphe Raffault. This extraordinary, one-hectare vineyard is a steeply sloped natural amphitheatre. It faces South, overlooking the Vienne River, opposite the Chateau de Chinon.
Raffault planted 0.65 hectares in the Clos with pre-WWII selection massale Cabernet France vines to attain a vineyard that is as close as possible to the original. He will plant the remaining section in 2014.
Soil: Turonian clay-limestone and sandstone.
Winemaking: The grapes are harvested by hand and given a long, one-month maceration period followed by frequent remontages. The wine is aged in new or 1 year-old litre barrels, for 12 months. After the malolactic fermentation in cask is finished, no sulphites are added. It remains protected under the natural CO2 produced by the malolactic fermentation. Before assemblage, the CO2 is replaced with inert gas to present any oxidization.
Dark ruby colour. The nose is complex with ripe dark fruit aromas and a touch of spice. The palate is rich, complex, intense with beautiful rich dark fruit. Very long. Vegan.
Wine Spectator Tasting Note
A beautiful beam of cassis and plum fruit glides through, inlaid with a seamless chalky spine and backed by alluring bergamot, violet and white pepper notes. The sleek, pure finish is very long. Drink now through 2027. 40 cases imported. 93 Points, James Molesworth, September 2017
The 2015 Chinon Clos de l’Hospice has a deep, ripe, elegant and fleshy bouquet of dark fruits and raw meat. Generous, rich and smoothly textured on the palate, this is an elegant and fine but round, intense and charming Chinon with warm fruit and fine and juicy tannins. The finish is stimulatingly fresh and even a bit salty. This is a very interesting red from a very warm spot in Chinon. Tasted in May 2018. 92 Points, Stephan Reinhardt, August 2021
Beautiful slightly chilled, this Chinon will pair with stronger dishes. Great with roast beef, meat balls in tomato sauce, roast pork and many vegetarian dishes such as lentil and bean casserole, roasted red peppers.