Château du Cléray & Maison Sauvion
The region around Nantes is rich in history. Up until the 10th century it was part of the kingdom of Brittany, after which it was granted to Foulques le Roux (c.870 – 942), a powerful Count of Anjou. There followed many years of incursions and occupation by the Vikings of all people, after which came several centuries where control of the region passed with some regularity between the rulers of Brittany and the French crown. It was not until the marriage of Anne de Bretagne (1477 – 1514) to Charles VIII (1470 – 1498) in 1491 that peace eventually settled upon the region.
Château du Cléray is one of only a few domaines in Muscadet where the history stretches back this far (probably not to the time of the Vikings, but at least to Anne de Bretagne), the evidence for this being an imposing residence which stood here during the 16th century. At this time the estate was the property of Anne Le Beveurs, who bequeathed it to her nephew, Louis de la Fontaine, in 1570. Despite this very little is known about life at the château during the years that followed, and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that we have a better view of the owners and their vines.
The Cléray Era
By the early 19th century this estate was the property of Comte Claude de Bruc du Cléray (1755 – 1819), who took over its running in 1793, assisted by his wife, Marie Danguy de Vue (died 1794) and his brother, Pierre Marie Michel de Bruc de Livernière (1766 – 1845). All three were heavily involved in the Guerre de Vendée, the pro-Royalist uprising that swept up from the Nantais into Anjou following the French Revolution. They fought alongside François Athanase de Charette de Contrie (1763 – 1796), one of the pro-Royalist movement’s principal leaders who was nicknamed Roi de la Vendée (King of the Vendée). It was during this time that Marie Danguy was killed, fighting alongside François Athanase; her husband and his brother survived, and they managed to maintain possession of Château du Cléray.