Domaine de Villargeau, 2022 Update
If there is one domaine which exemplifies the value and merit of the Coteaux de Giennois appellation more than any other, then it is surely Domaine de Villargeau. Established by the Thibaut family in 1991, before the region was elevated from VDQS to appellation status, this domaine has risen in significance and standing. The obviously varietal Sauvignon style found in the early years has now largely gone; today the domaine produces a more intriguing style of white, marked by waxy concentration, ripe fruit and seams of minerals and acids.
Add to this a recent conversion to organic viticulture, as well as an interesting range of reds, which in contrast to Sancerre and Menetou-Salon are made using Gamay as well as Pinot Noir, and this becomes a domaine worth knowing about.
Like some of their peers in the Loire Valley the Thibaut family have experienced some difficult vintages in recent times. Most pointedly the 2021 vintage, in which they lost 70% of the crop to frost, not an unusual figure in this vintage, in which the level of damage was comparable to that seen in the devastating frost of 1991. With frost becoming a major issue in the Loire Valley in recent times, the Thibaut family elected to hold some wines back a little longer before releasing them to market, building up stocks to see them through the leaner years, much as Pierre-François at Domaine Masson-Blondelet has done. On this occasion I met up with Marc Thibaut to taste his wines currently on the market, which as a reflection of this controlled system of releases come from the 2020, 2019 and 2018 vintages.