Chinon set to extend borders

Chinon producers have broadly welcomed a decision that will see the Loire’s largest red wine appellation and high profile source of Cabernet Franc expand its boundaries from the 2016 vintage.

Candes-Saint-Martin, one of the new Chinon communes

Candes-Saint-Martin, one of the new Chinon communes

The move, which was validated by the INAO earlier this year, will see seven communes along the coteaux de Seuilly join the Chinon appellation, closing a gap with the border of Saumur.

Like Chinon itself, the new communes to be included lie along the Vienne tributary of the Loire’s left bank, stretching from Candes-Saint-Martin via Saint-Gervais-sur-Vienne, Couziers, Lerné, Thizay, Cinais and Seuilly, the birthplace of 15th century writer Rabelais.

The move will initially add around 50 hectares of vineyard to the Chinon appellation, which currently features 2360ha of vines across 18 communes and 170 growers. However, there is scope to plant more vineyards in the area, which is currently included within the larger Touraine AOC.

“For me it’s not a problem, more is better,” commented Chinon producer Frédéric Sigonneau of Domaine de L’R about the change. He suggested that it had been only financial rather than geologicial considerations preventing these communes from joining up when the Chinon AOC was established in 1937.

Despite the relatively small vineyard area coming on board initially, Sigonneau cited studies that suggest the extension will bring around “200ha of good terroir”, which are likely to enjoy a commercial boost once wine from these sites can carry the Chinon name.

Rodolphe Raffault, vice-president of the Syndicat des Vins de Chinon, emphasised the logic of this extension on the grounds that “some of these places have a geology that is very close to Chinon.”

Producers within the newly added section of Chinon will be able to use the appellation on their labels from the 2016 vintage onwards.

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