2015 Jean Maurice Raffault Chinon Clos L'hospice MonopoleCabernet Franc from France
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"Rodolphe Raffault of Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault replanted and revived Clos de L’Hospice, one of Chinon’s greatest sites, in 2008. Raffault has cultivated the Clos fully org...
- 93 Wine Spectator
93 Wine Spectator
"A beautiful beam of cassis and plum fruit glides through, inlaid with a seamless chalky spine and backed by alluring bergamot, violet and white pepper notes. The sleek, pure finish is very long. Drink now through 2027. 40 cases imported."
"Rodolphe Raffault of Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault replanted and revived Clos de L’Hospice, one of Chinon’s greatest sites, in 2008. Raffault has cultivated the Clos fully organically since the replanting. This extraordinary, one-hectare vineyard is a steeply sloped natural amphitheater with limestone soil. It faces south-east, overlooking the Vienne River, opposite the Château de Chinon. Once owned by Rabelais’ descendants, the Clos was highly prized in times past and was regularly mentioned in historical documents. It belonged to the convent of Calvarian and Augustinian nuns from the 17th century through the French Revolution, where it served as a source of income for their hospital – hence its name: the Clos de L’Hospice. Preferring to tend to their vegetables, in 1876 the sisters allowed local vignerons to maintain the vineyard. The nuns kept the wine in poor vintages for their patients’ consumption at the Hospice and sold off the good years at profit. This arrangement continued until the vineyard was devastated during the Phylloxera epidemic.
Despite various projects, the Clos remained unplanted with vines until 2008. Amazingly enough, up until the 1980s, the land was used as a garden by hospital patients. The hospital relocated in 1980 and sold the land, which enabled the Clos de L’Hospice to eventually become a vineyard once again. In 2008, Rodolphe Raffault revived the site for his domaine in cooperation with the town of Chinon and an investment group who had undertaken the renovation of the Château – itself a national historic monument – along with the construction of new residences at the site of the former convent. In 2008, Raffault planted 0.65 hectares in the Clos with pre-WWII selection massale Cabernet Franc vines to attain a vineyard that is as close as possible to the original. In June of 2014, he planted the remaining one-third of a hectare of vines on limestone terraces. The first vintage was 2011.
The 2015 harvest took place under ideal, sunny conditions. Warm September days ensured optimal maturity. The Clos’ limestone soil mitigiated hyrdric stress due to the summer’s high temperatures and prevented over-concentration, even though the berries were generally smaller than usual. Raffault again picked the Clos last on October 9th, two weeks after the harvest of his Les Galuches and several days after the Les Picasses and Clos d’Isoré. The Clos de L’Hospice fruit was perfectly healthy, in part due to Raffault’s meticulous vineyard work including leaf stripping and green harvesting by hand. The grapes were harvested by hand and given a long, one-month maceration period followed by frequent remontages. The 2015 vintage was aged in three new 500 litre barrels, for 12 months. After the malolactic fermentation in cask finished, Raffault did not add sulfites and also chose not to rack the young wine. Rather, it remained protected under the natural CO2 produced by the malolactic fermentation. Before assemblage in early 2017, Raffault replaced the CO2 with inert gas to prevent any oxidization. Sulfites were not used during any phase. The 2015 Clos de L’Hospice was bottled on February 2, 2017.
Jean-Maurice Raffault and Rodolphe Raffault’s family began cultivating vines in Chinon 14 generations ago, when their ancestor, Mathurin Bottreau, bought his first parcel of vines in 1693. Today, Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault owns 50 hectares of vines in 7 communes. The Cabernet Franc vines average 35 years of age and 10 hectares within these sites are 50 years of age." -Importer
93 - Wine Spectator
|Features||Organic and Biodynamic|
|Taste||tobacco, raspberry, cassis, violet, pepper and green bean|
|Nose||tobacco, broccoli, berry and flower|