Back-Vintage Chinon: Raffault Les Picasses 1978-1990

Posted by Joe Salamone

Back-Vintage Chinon
Raffault Chinon "Les Picasses"
78 | 79 | 83 | 85 | 89 | 90

Olga Raffault makes unapologetically wild, old fashioned Chinon. Above all else, they need a good dose of cellaring.

Today, we are thrilled to unveil a tiny parcel of a back-vintage Chinon gem: Olga Raffault's top wine, Chinon Les Picasses, going from 1978-1990 all with perfect provenance.

Raffault's are some of the most relentlessly mineral Cab Francs around. There's no effort to tame Cabernet Franc's lean herbaceousness.

Instead, Raffault lets the slightly austere and insanely earthbound minerality run wild. They are wines of rigid spines that demand some time to fully appreciate.

As they age, the wines soften and loosen up, unlocking intense depths of forest floor, spice-laden dark fruits, sandalwood, and moss covered rocks. All of this backed by nervy acid.

The expression is singular and haunting; sinewy reds that share a spirit with the traditionalists of the Northern Rhône, the wild savory Bandols of Provence (think Tempier), the iconoclasts in the southwest, Iroulegy, etc.

Within the Raffault portfolio, Les Picasses is the most prestigious and ageworthy. Grown on limestone soils, the vines are 50+ years old, their age donating added depth to the final wine

All the vintages on offer today are from very good to great vintages. The 89 and 90 are both from powerful, ripe vintages and lend a layer of rich dark fruit to the backdrop of minerals and piney forest notes. 79 and 85 are lighter, more perfumed vintages. 83 is decidedly mineral and somewhere in the middle combining minerality and perfume with muscle. And 1978 has the great depth that maturity brings with a building palate presence on the backend.

Perfectly stored Chinon is a rare treat, especially at Raffault's more than fair prices. Quantities are very limited. Please give us your ideal order and we'll try our best.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits