By 1183, King Henry II had expanded England’s territory deep into France. This included the Château de Chinon, a castle roughly 200 miles southwest of Paris. Situated in the Touraine region, Chinon became a favorite spot for Henry to conduct his royal affairs, in every sense of that term. The Lion in Winter depicts a fictionalized Christmas for Henry and his bickering wife and children. If you enjoy intelligent people plotting and planning against each other, this is the movie for you.
Like many spots in France, Chinon and its surrounding area boast some killer wines. I’ll recommend a few you can enjoy with The Lion in Winter. Full disclosure: I generally pick wines in the $15-25 range, but prices may vary. If any selection falls greatly out this range wherever you are, let your favorite store know and
tell them you’ll burn their store to the fucking ground see if they can find something different for you.
Jean-Christophe Mandard, Touraine, Chenin Blanc
This Chenin has that rare combo of bold, complex flavors while still remaining friendly and easy-drinking. Some wines may bash you over the head like a pitching wedge, but not this one. The opening notes are rich, ripe, and floral. You may get a blend of honeydew and honey on the velvety mid-palate. (If there’s not a band called Velvety Mid-Palate, I’m gonna be sorely disappointed.) The finish has well-balanced acidity and some nice lemon to it, making this a perfect pair with turkey or chicken meals. If you like good whites to go with good movies, this one may be your dude.
*If your wine store doesn’t have this particular offering ask them for an alternative Chenin Blanc.
Charles Jouget Chinon, Val de Loire
In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is blended with Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec to produce, well…you know, Bordeaux. In the Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc gets grown and bottled all by its lonesome. Smoother than Mel Tormé crooning “Blue Moon” at the Flamingo, this Cab Franc from Charles Jouget is a great gateway for those looking to explore French reds. Think of this bottle as a nice pair of jeans that could be dressed up or down: It has silky-rich cherries and blueberries that make it accessible and porch-ready. You’ll also find some hints of dry, dark chocolate and a little earthiness, meaning you could pair it with everything from lamb to beef tenderloin and not think twice. This Chinon also comes in Rosé form, if you’re into something pink.