All those who scoff at Chinon should take a second look (or a second taste). This weekend, we went to Laval for the last time. Arnaud's parents are moving to the Atlantic coast and he wanted to rescue some souvenirs, old letters and books and coins, since his dad was on a recycling-plant binge and the past was being put to shreds.
Sunday, with spatterings of rain lashing down, we drove to Chinon. First stop, Beaumont-en-Véron (5km from Chinon proper), to visit Aunt Jacqueline, whose cellar houses Chinons from decades past made by her husband Lucien and his brother Marcel, Arnaud's grandfather. (It was also a place where they hid Resistants and Jews during the Occupation, deep under the vineyards.)
1986 Domaine de Détilly Chinon - Mm. This was apparently a good year for Chinon, and this bottle had not moved from the place it was vinified and bottled. It was delicious and young-seeming (though with a thick layer of deposit). Bright red fruits, very strawberry, some tart raspberry, and an awesome tertiary aroma of tobacco I had never tasted before in a Chinon. Delicious stuff. Excellent with a steak in wild mushroom–red wine–cream sauce.
We also tasted a 1996 Domaine de Détilly Chinon, which sang with bright fruit and a delicious beckoning to come back and drink some more...
A 2005 from the same domain was less enchanting... It's since been taken over by a second cousin/nephew, Yvon, and he... as they say in the family, tends to "faire pisser la vigne." A shame, because these Chinons de plaine can have a lot of class.