Domaine Les Roches
Knowledgeable drinkers of Chinon are well aware that some of the greatest wines of this most famous of all Loire red-wine appellations are to be found coming from vines planted on the limestone côtes which run behind and out to the east of the town. Knowledgeable drinkers of Chinon also know, however, that not every wine of interest has to have been born in a vineyard of limestone. There are supposedly lesser terroirs, especially the sandy and gravelly soils to the west of the town between the Loire and the Vienne, which have spawned ageworthy wines that seem to develop a soft and gentle, honey-leather complexity as they age. It should also be noted that terroir generalisations can only be taken so far, and that even in the sandy-gravelly isthmus there are pockets of more desirable land – yes, we are back to limestone again – where quality can surpass expectations.
So every Chinon rule has an exception, it seems. Domaine Les Roches, home to the Lenoir family since the mid-20th century, and located west of Chinon near Beaumont-en-Véron, is one such exception.