Soils of Chinon appellation

The Chinon appellation area and its soils

  • Gravel and sand soils: alluvial terraces on the left banks of the Loire and Vienne rivers, composed of gravel and sand.
  • Clay-limestone soils: limestone hillsides and knolls, composed of chalk and tufa.
  • At the top of the slopes, flinty clay soils.

The History of Chinon

  • Vines first appeared in Gaul in ancient times with the arrival of the Gallo-Romans.
  • In the Middle Ages, Chinon became the stronghold prized by the kings, as it was located at the crossroads of Anjou, Poitou and Touraine, on the banks of the Vienne, whose confluence with the Loire is at nearby Candes-St-Martin. Its strategic position and waterways encouraged the expansion of the vineyards.
  • During the Renaissance, Northern European countries exported large quantities of Chinon wine from Nantes, which they considered to be of the highest quality. The town played an essential role, thanks in particular to the Dutch merchants who played a major role in the development of a quality vineyard in Chinon, where the main grape variety was Chenin! At the time, white wine was easier to make and transport. White wine was favoured over red wine for 2 centuries!

Rabelais himself often referred to Chinon red wine in his works as "Breton", but he also mentioned Chinon white wine on more than one occasion.

  • Today, the appellation area and the Rabelaisie blend together in our imaginations, and to drink a Chinon is also to share the humanist values of François Rabelais, the illustrious Chinoner who laid the foundations of a philosophy of Good Living, Good Eating and Good Drinking.