The château of Chinon
, which overlooks the Vienne River, was a stopping place for many kings and princes, from the Plantagenets to Richelieu. In 1429 Jeanne d'Arc came here to ask Charles VII to reconquer France. It is also the birthplace of Rabelais, and his true history as well as fabled versions are carved into the local architecture and the landscape, making Chinon a pilgrimage site (more Bacchic than literary) and lending it a Renaissance charm that is popular with tourists. The appellation of Chinon
, which was established on July 31st, 1937, extends over 18 villages on both sides of the Vienne and up to where it meets the Loire.
Chinon annually produces 110,000 hectoliters of white, rosé, and red wine from 2,400 hectares (5,931 acres) of vineyards. There are three main soil types here: alluvial terraces (old and recent) on the banks of the Vienne, made up of gravel and sand; Turonian limestone (yellow tuff) on slopes and knolls along the smaller rivers; and clay with silex and sand of the Upper Cretaceous period on the plateaus and hills. The large junction of the Loire and the Vienne is a door to the Atlantic, bringing a mild oceanic climate to the sun-drenched south-facing vineyards. Like Bourgueil across the river, Chinon enjoys a microclimate that is perfectly suited to Cabernet Franc.
Red Chinon is made almost exclusively from Cabernet Franc (locally called Breton), and up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon may be blended in. White Chinon is made from Chenin Blanc (also called Pineau de Loire). Some wines produced here reach their peak between 2 and 5 years of age, while others are best after 10 or 20 years of aging. Some excellent examples are offered by producers like Charles Joguet, Philippe Alliet, and Bernard Baudry.
More informations on the website of the wines of Chinon