Olga Raffault, Chinon, Les Barnabés 2018


This is a wonderful wine made from Cabernet Franc in the small, brilliant village of Chinon. Made by the grand-daughter of the late Olga Raffault, this is full of dark fruits, pencil lead and a green-leafy quality that acts like a freshening balance and makes it perfect with food. This warm vintage makes any hint of under-ripeness disappear, resulting in a wine that is enticing, approachable and significant.

This is from one of the most wonderful clusters of villages in France for producing Cabernet Franc. Though probably originally from south of Bordeaux (where it is an important blending component), it is here just off the Loire that it is made as the shining star.

Never massively full-bodied or overtly powerful, you get elegance and finesse here - somewhat stylistically like a hybrid of the structure from cooler Bordeaux appellations with the complexity and elegance of Burgundy. The Loire is distinctly cooler climate and as a result there isn't as much warmth in the grapes, nor the resultant wines, but that's no bad thing, even if climate change is leading to more and more vintages with fuller, riper fruit. Alcohol levels are often more moderate and there is structure and complexity from the dark grape skins (certainly in the Cabernet Franc wines) that really makes them stand out in the crowd.

Cabernet Franc stands out on its own because of of the stylistic singularities that it possesses: tannic, dry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, leafy and above all else a sense of pencil lead and, in under-ripe vintages, green bell-peppers.

The winery of Olga Raffault has a fascinating story that dates to the end of the second world war. Her husband died suddenly in 1947 with his work in the winery supported by a German prisoner of war and refugee who had been working with them on the estate. The winery is now run by her granddaughter and great-grandson and has been fully certified as organic since 2015.

The wines of Chinon can be light, fruity and fragrant, just as they can be darker and more extracted. This one is a lovely balance of the two styles and is made without any oak influence to allow the fruit to shine through, which it certainly does. Cabernet Franc is certainly a food wine in its richer styles, but this too would be a super match for game and cheeses as well as on its own.

Our match? Well, if it's not duck, give us baguette, decent butter and a whack load of pâté.

Received an honourable mention by Leslie Williams on Sean Moncrieff's Movies & Booze show on Newstalk FM on 9th June, 2023.  Sean chimed in with "well worth it"  

Region: Loire Valley

Country: France

Grape(s): Cabernet Franc

Style: Vibrant, Organic, Medium Bodied, Fresh, Complex, Bright

Best food matches: Venison, Tuna, Tapas, Roasts, Poultry, Mature Cheeses, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef

Alcohol: 12.5%

Why buy from us?

When you buy wine from The Allotment Wine Co. you're helping a small Irish company that in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers who grow the grapes and make amazing wines. We only work with partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.

Delivery & Returns

You'll get free delivery when you buy 12 x 75cl bottles of wine online from The Allotment, saving you €7.99.

We charge €7.99 per delivery for quantities less than that.

Our hours for processing orders are between 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday.

We pack your online wine order along the following timelines:

Wine orders for delivery in Dublin, received before 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected the next working day.

Wine orders for nationwide delivery, received by 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected two working days later.

Customer reviews

Great choice and excellent service. Received my delivery the next day.
Paul H.
Amazing service from the get go!
I emailed Chris looking for wine recommendations for a birthday gift. Got a really speedy, helpful reply and not only that but he hand delivered it on time to the birthday girl wishing her a happy birthday. Absolutely bowled over by the service. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Michelle McM.
Could not recommend The Allotment enough. The selection is fantastic and each wine that I've drank from them has been utterly phenomenal. Delivery was no hassle and I had the wine at my door in 2 days. Couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Luke B.
Good range of interesting wines. Good personal attention to their orders. Very customer focused. I would be happy to recommend this company to any prospective customer.
Jim D.
A great experience ordering from The Allotment Wine Company. A wide variety of wines to try something new and at good prices with super quick delivery! Really convenient too as opposed to trying to find parking!
N. Dowling
Delicious and interesting range of wines delivered promptly to my door. Not far off that lovely feeling of coming back laden from a good wine store but without any of the traffic or the worry of breaking the wine en route (very impressive travel wrap).
M. Dorman
Chris fields a fine range of excellent, keenly-priced wines. Orders are safely packaged and dispatched efficiently and promptly. Strongly recommended.
David M.
Great selection of wines, hassle free ordering, payment and delivery. Highly recommended.
Patrick H.
Hi, I'm Chris Gifford.

And you're very welcome to The Allotment Wine Co.

When you wine from me, you're supporting a small Irish business which in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers, as well as other small, dedicated Irish wine importers.

When selecting wines, I look for partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.