Château de Villeneuve, 2020 Update
Saumur-Champigny is home to the Loire Valley’s most famed and most expensive cult wines, not to mention a gaggle of young vignerons hoping to make their mark (these two observations are surely not unrelated). Nevertheless, while long-established A-listers and youthful start-ups both hold my interest, we should not overlook the Saumur-Champigny stalwarts, domaines where the mantra is quality and consistency without any of the surrounding hype or viticultural dogma.
While there are a number of domaines scattered through the Saumur vineyard around Chacé, Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg and along the banks of the Loire itself that fit this description, first among them is surely Château de Villeneuve. Jean-Pierre Chevallier took over the running of the domaine back in the 1980s, continuing an impressive family history of viticulture which spans five generations, although it was only in 1969 that Jean-Pierre’s parents acquired Château de Villeneuve (pictured above). Jean-Pierre continues here today (although retirement beckons, and the next generation is waiting in the wings) albeit in newly refurbished and equipped cellars which were completed as recently as 2016.