Guide to the Loire regions

Châteaumeillant

Grower Profiles




Domaine des Tanneries
Henri Raffinat looks every bit the seventy-five year old farmer that he is, thick set, flat cap and a nose as red as his Châteaumeillant rouge. Together with his father, he started bottling their wine at the domaine in 1965 at a time when most growers were defecting to the newly formed co-operative. He represents the third generation to grow vines here and when he finally retires, his two sons, Jean-Luc and Eric will succeed him. Until then, he remains a tireless campaigner for the region and its wines. In addition to vines, the Raffinats also farm a large herd of Charolais which Henri is proud to show off post tasting.

Wine Overview:
The family work 10.5 hectares of vines, all of which are centred on the gentle slopes on the towns south flank, with one parcel distinguished as a continuous six hectare plot. For a mature vigneron, and someone who one would expect to uphold long standing tradition, Henri holds very contemporary views about the appellation, and whilst Gamay is seen as the staple variety, he is a great supporter of Pinot Noir, believing it is the variety for the appellation's future. He has put his money where his mouth is, and has re-planted the entire domaine since 1991, and Pinot Noir now accounts for a total of six hectares. The balance is planted to Gamay, with a token half hectare of Sauvignon Blanc, of which the first vintage in 2008 is to be bottled as Vin de Pays du Cher .

The wines themselves are made in a fairly crude shed at the back of the house and next to the open barn that accommodates the Charolais in winter. There is a wide selection of concrete, fibre glass and steel tanks for ageing.

The Wines:
The nature of the wines here means that they are designed for consumption within a year or so of the vintage, so individual notes are not offered.

The gris is generally a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Gamay and is made in quite a heavy style in relation to what might be expected from the appellation. The red is centred on 80% Pinot Noir. In 2008, the vineyards were badly hit by hail in August and all of the Gamay was vinified as Gris, leaving only Pinot Noir as red wine. Despite the difficult conditions, the quality of the 2008s in tank showed great promise.  

Henri Raffinat
Domaine des Tanneries
12 Rue des Tannerie
Châteaumeillant
T: + 33 2 48 61 35 16
F: + 33 2 48 61 44 27


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