Château de Villeneuve, 2022 Update

Château de Villeneuve, run by Jean-Pierre and Florence Chevallier, has the (surely much-coveted) honour of being the Loire Valley domaine I have followed longer than any other. In this regard Jean-Pierre and Florence beat the Vacheron family into second place, although the difference between the two is just a few days.

The Chevallier family purchased the property in the late 1960s. They acquired the château, which sits atop a limestone bluff close to the course of the Loire, but not the extensive cellars carved into the limestone rock below; these had been sold separately to a négociant firm, Santejeau. The family operated the business from the château, while making use of winemaking facilities a couple of kilometres distant, near Château de Hureau.

Château de Villeneuve

I first encountered the wines in Saumur, during the course of my very first trip to the Loire Valley back in 1993 (a few days later I was in Sancerre, which was when I called in on Domaine Vacheron). By this time responsibility for the winemaking had been passed on from Chevallier père to Jean-Pierre, and it seemed clear even to my inexperienced palate that the younger of the two knew what he was doing. I remember drinking some of his earliest vintages back in pre-Winedoctor days, and the wines always had something to say.

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