Château de Villeneuve
It was a warm summer afternoon, and I found myself wandering around Saumur, exploring the narrow, winding streets and alleyways of the town centre with no particular direction in mind. Strolling along I encountered, by chance rather than by design, unless perhaps I was being directed by my subconscious mind, the Maison du Vin de Saumur. It was certainly not an opportunity I could pass up; after all, wine was really the purpose of this trip. I entered the establishment to see what was on offer.
My memories of this day, one afternoon in July in 1993, are now very sketchy, but I recall tasting a small handful of wines from names that even then were familiar to me; certainly Domaine Filliatreau was there, and one or two others I knew, but being keen to discover something new I also recall plumping for some unfamiliar names. One wine that particularly impressed was a Saumur-Champigny from Château de Villeneuve, and although I have long forgotten the vintage – it may well have been the 1991, or perhaps even the 1992 depending on when it had been bottled – I can still remember the flavours. It was vibrant, lively, fresh, with fruit character that resembled the purest essence of raspberry I could imagine.
Naturally I purchased a handful of bottles, as well as some from Filliatreau. They were all drunk many years ago now, but like all good wines the memory of the bottles lives on. They were an excellent introduction to the domaine in question, which today is home to the Chevallier family.