Chinon, Loire Valley
Since 1693, our 50-hectare estate vinifies white (Chenin), rose and red Chinon(Cab. Franc), each parcel separately to ensure the typicity of each terroir. One is the historical “Clos de l’Hospice” of Chinon. For maturing, with a very low quantity of sulfites , some former freestone quarries are used to hold 900 barrels. The domain is beginning a biologic conversion in 2016.
In the summer of 2008, Rodolphe Raffault dedicated himself to a new challenge: the replanting of the legendary Clos de l’Hospice vineyard, that had been abandoned for over 100 years. Archival evidence dating back to the 16th century testifies to the excellence of this vineyard site. The steeply sloping Clos de l’Hospice faces due south towards the Vienne River . It was planted with selection massale plants. The first harvest was in 2011. The grapes were harvested by hand and given a long, one‐month maceration period followed by frequent remontages. The wine was aged in new 500 litre barrels, for 12 months. After the malolactic fermentation in cask finished, Raffault did not add sulfites and also chose not to rack the young wine. Rather, it remained protected under the natural CO2 produced by the malolactic fermentation. Before assemblage, Raffault replaced the CO2 with inert gas to prevent any oxidization. Sulfites were not used during any phase. This vineyard is grown organically, without herbicides, using treatment with sulfur and copper.
Les Picasses is situated on a plateau at the summit of the hills overlooking the Vienne and is the highest point between the Vienne and Loire Rivers and is very well exposed. Vines were already planted here in the 15th century. The name Picasses derives from a vineyard tool with two points (pics) used to work on vines planted on stony soil. The soil in the Picasses vineyard is a blend of limestone and clay with small stones, which gives the wine its intensity and structure.