02 Raffault Chinon: France's Benchmark Cab Franc?

Posted by CrushWine

Funk-a-delectable Chinon
2002 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses
Loire's Cult Cabernet Franc - Lowest Price in the World

With 60 years of history, the Olga Raffault domaine continues to make unapologetically wild Chinon that could be considered France's benchmark Cabernet Franc.

There are times for listening to Beethoven, and then there are times are for Parliament Funkadelic. Elegance and class are great and noble, but sometimes you just want to get down. The 2002 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses is for those times when you're in a George Clinton mood.

Legendary matriarch Olga Raffault started the domaine sixty years ago and quickly became a leading figure in the Chinon appellation; she has since passed authority to her son Jean and, most recently, granddaughter Sylvie and her husband Eric who continue to produce pure, honest Cabernet Franc.

Within the Raffault portfolio, Les Picasses is the most prestigious and ageworthy example of Chinon's terroir - arguably, it's the best example in the appellation. Grown on classic limestone soils, the vines are 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 wildly pure.

2002 is another proud notch in Raffault's impressive history, the vintage's ultra-classic dense structure and ample, ripe fruit lending massive ageability. Les Picasses may not be as elegant as some right-bank Bordeaux, but its personality is more thrilling than anything the right bank could produce at anywhere near this price point.

Give this wine time to breathe in the glass and witness leather, green peppercorns, iron and cassis begin to soulfully bellow from the glass. The palate gives up blood-red fruits and tobacco, black minerals and an ever-so-slight austerity that is tamed with a hearty meal. Duck has always been one of my favorite foods with Raffault - confit with a spring vegatable ragout or Peking Duck for something more adventurous. However, this is just as great with steak frites or even a batch of peppery sautéed greens like swiss chard. Mushrooms, roasted chicken, and lamb all adore this wine as well.

A few more years in the cellar promise to bring this wine into its prime. In fact, recently opened bottles of both the 1989 and 1990 have shown extraordinarily well, their rigid backbones having gorgeously integrated into deep earthiness and softly spicy fruit. I'll certainly be cellaring a bunch of these 2002s for my future Cabernet Franc cravings.

The wine geeks reading here already know of Raffault's greatness, and at today's outstanding quality to price ratio, they'll be snatching this up quickly. For the rest of you, we urge you to move now! To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Chris Cottrell
Specialist, Fine & Rare Wine Dept.
Crush Wine & Spirits

2002 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses

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