Far away from the shining poles of France's two major wine regions, Bordeaux and Burgundy, Chinon is hidden away in the Loire Valley. Its wines are just as secret. Are they intellectuals' wines, as Jules Romains wrote, rife with unexpected savors, or are they simple country quaffers? However the wines of Chinon are seen, they must first be seen at all. And once they are on the oenophile's horizon, they require a certain type of gaze. In a world that is witnessing an increasingly technical approach to wine, both in wine tasting and wine making, Chinon's Cabernet Franc charms are atavistic rather than "Parker friendly." Chinon is a bumpy path rather than a streamlined highway, and for those sensitive to its treasures, that is worth its weight in famous names, critics' points and high-alcohol "fruit-bombs."

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