to the Loire regions
André Villeneuve developed this domaine in 1968 when
he rented the 18th Century cellar of the Château de Champagny
and took charge of the two hectares of vines established here. Over the
next thirty years he gradually built up the vineyards, constructing five
hectares alone in 1993 in preparation of the region gaining its AC status.
He was joined by his son, Frédéric, in 1997. On André’s retirement at
the end of 2008, Frédéric invited his truck driving friend, Jérôme
Forest, to invest in the business, and who is now taking on the
responsibility for tending the vines.
The domaine now works with 12 hectares of vines, including 4.5 hectares
which are rented from the Château. The Villenueve’s planted one hectare
of Chardonnay in 2004 in the heavier clay soils down towards the plain. A
total of 80% of the crop is harvested by hand.
The cellar is situated in a lovely old stone barn with
thick wooden beams that was once a smallholding and built during the time
of the French Revolution. The winemaking, however, is a little more
modern. Stainless steel tanks have replaced the old tonneau
used by Frédéric’s father up until the end of the 1980s.
The wines here are all sold under the borrowed name of
the Château. The rosé accounts for a relatively high 20% of the total
production and is increasing year on year as demand continues to rise,
whilst the light, early drinking red accounts for around 30,000 bottles a
year. The ‘Grande Réserve’, sourced from the vines of between 50 and
60 years is quite tight, with noticeable tannin and an underlying chalky
texture. Their excursion into white, the ‘Grain de Chardonnay’ is
light and simple and pretty undistinguished.
Villeneuve et Jérôme
Château de Champagny
T: + 33 4 77 64 42 88
F: + 33 4 77 62 12 55