Domaine de Villargeau
The right bank of the Loire, running from Cosne-sur-Loire (which lies very close to Sancerre) down to Gien seems to be given over mostly to wheat fields and forest. Not to mention nuclear power stations, there being two here, situated very close to one another. The first is to be found at Neuvy-sur-Loire, the next just beyond Gien itself, each feeding off the cooling waters of the Loire. What we won’t see much of, perhaps to our surprise, bearing in mind that this is the Coteaux du Giennois appellation, is vines.
The Coteaux du Giennois appellation is a sprawling wine region, one where vineyards are sparse and only sporadically encountered, a region where the vine has been engaged in centuries of battle against wheat, and during much of this time wheat has had the upper hand. There are vineyards though; you just have to know where to look. The first rule to remember is not to be influenced by the name of the appellation; despite being christened for Gien, there are in fact very few vineyards around this town, at what is really the tail end of the appellation. The largest concentration is in fact upstream, on the plateau to the east of Cosne-sur-Loire. Which I suppose begs the question why the appellation isn’t known as the Coteaux de Cosne; sorry, I don’t have a good answer for that.
One of the more noteworthy of these vineyards can be found on the road heading eastwards from Cosne-sur-Loire, out past Pougny and towards Donzy. This, of course, is Domaine de Villargeau.