Château de Villeneuve, 2017 Update

I am a committed fan of the wines of Jean-Pierre Chevallier. Working in the Saumur-Champigny appellation, he isn’t short of competitors who can make a legitimate claim to cult status, from Clos Rougeard to Domaine Collier, from Thierry Germain at Domaine des Roches to Romain at the more eponymous Domaine Guiberteau. Perhaps this explains why he remains, beyond the realms of Winedoctor and the writings of one or two other Loire-minded journalists, so persistently overlooked?

As I have written before, I first encountered his wines in the very early 1990s, Jean-Pierre (pictured below) having taken the reins of the family domaine during the 1980s, having first completed his studies in Bordeaux. Even then the quality was exceptional, but it has improved immeasurably since. The entry-level and Vieilles Vignes cuvées here are absolutely classic examples of the appellation, the first filled with the essence of crushed summer fruits, the latter a more serious but still entirely delicious halfway-house between this and the very serious, very ageworthy Le Grand Clos. And he just happens to make superb white wines too, from the entry-level steel-fermented cuvée, clean and crisp, to the more sinewy Les Cormiers, with the deftest touch of oak. What’s not to love?

Château de Villeneuve

Despite my admiration for his wines, I haven’t been able to taste with Jean-Pierre for a year or two. My only excuse is that there is not enough time, for too many wines. But it was great to catch up again, especially when it meant checking out the reds from the 2015 vintage.

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