There are many reasons to visit the picturesque (and remarkably un-spoiled) fortified medieval market town of Chinon on the banks of the river Vienne, but a new one for Team Yapp is to patronise the excellent 'Les Années 30' restaurant at 78 rue haute Saint Maurice. Six of us, heroically travelling in one car for environmental and budgetary reasons, made a welcome pit-stop there last year and ate one of the best meals we've had in France in recent years. They boast an excellent wine list to boot with mature examples of local wines at reasonable prices.
We've been listing the Desbourdes family's superb Chinon 'L'Arpenty' for so long we are now dealing with Émilien, grandson of our original supplier Raymond. He has now converted all 18 hectares of his vines to organic viticulture and the ensuing wine is showing as well as ever. With a bright purple robe, juicy summer berry scents and flavours offset by a fresh acidity and supple tannins, it is a great Cabernet Franc for drinking lightly chilled on its youthful fruit. Thanks Émilien!
Rudolphe Raffault is an experienced wine-maker who produces a relative rarity in the form of an estimable Chinon blanc from pure Chenin Blanc, the only permitted grape. White wine accounts for just 2% of the local production so can be hard to source in commercial volumes. It has fresh green apple aromas and a mineral edged,citrus-streaked palate with a whistle-clean finish. New to these pages is Rudolphe's pretty coral pink rosé. Made by short-term skin contact from Cabernet Franc, it has an uplifting bouquet of berries and cherries and a zesty red fruit palate so is perfect for al fresco imbibing.