Château de Villeneuve, 2010 Update

I find it amusing to think that when I first tasted the wines of Château de Villeneuve it was purely by chance, after I had wandered into the Maison du Vin in Saumur close to two decades ago. Then Château de Villeneuve was described to me, by the maison’s employee, as an up-and-coming name, a long-established domaine perhaps, but one which was experiencing something of a revitalisation. Today I would describe it as a leader within the context of the appellation, a domaine turning out superlative wines in red and white. The name still has less caché than Clos Rougeard for example, but there are many advantages to this; the wines are far more accessible, more widely available, and while they are appropriately priced for their quality they are nevertheless much more affordable than your average bottle of Le Bourg from Les Frères Foucault.

Château de Villeneuve

And so this year I have revisited the wines of Château de Villeneuve not once but twice, first tasting through the latest releases in February at the 2010 Salon des Vins de Loire, both wines in bottle and also brut de cuve samples, second during a visit to the château (pictured above) in Souzay-Champigny in July. At both tastings it was the white Les Cormiers which really stole the show, in February showing a delicious combination of minerality and honeycomb-sweet fruit, whilst maintaining a fine acid backbone. So much so that when I visited the domaine in July I was delighted to be able to taste the wine again when I found it just as convincing, sufficiently so for me to add more than a bottle or two to the cellar.

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