There are two routes running south-east out of Saumur, down into the vineyards of Saumur-Champigny. The first is the rather grand Boulevard Saint Vincent (the patron saint of vignerons, just in case you were unaware – no self-respecting wine town is without a rue or a place named in his honour); this is a large dual-carriageway which whizzes through Varrains but otherwise does not bother any of the Saumur-Champigny villages that might be of interest to us, including Chacé and Champigny itself. Take this route and, within minutes, you have reached Brézé, the location of Château de Brézé of course, and some significant white vineyards, namely those exploited by Nady and Charly Foucault of Clos Rougeard, and Antoine Foucault of Domaine du Collier.
The other option is the Route de Champigny, which runs north of the aforementioned boulevard towards – stating the obvious I suspect – Champigny. This is a complete contrast to the first route, being a narrow rural road just large enough for two vehicles to pass. It makes for a quieter journey, and it affords a much more leisurely view of the vines all around. And once past Champigny it then gently turns eastwards through the Forêt de Fontevraud before arriving at Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, where Henry II, Aliénor d’Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart are interred.
Sitting almost equidistant between these two routes, surrounded by a sea of vines dotted with the occasional island of trees, is Chaintre. This village is where Château de Chaintres can be found, but just down the road there is another significant Saumur-Champigny estate, namely Domaine Filliatreau. A very large estate, I believe the largest in the region, Domaine Filliatreau is central to the history of the Saumur-Champigny appellation, and it remains a significant one for the appellation today.