Grand vin de Loire, SA Chenin Blanc + HJ

2005 Le Grand Clos, Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve

The wines from Château de Villeneuve – both the white Saumur (100% Chenin Blanc) and Saumur-Champigny (100% Cabernet Franc) – are among my favourite Loire wines and Jean-Pierre Chevallier is one of the Loire’s top wine producers.

Le Grand Clos is Villeneuve’s top red and is only released when the quality is au rendezvous. We recently drank this superb bottle from 2005 with roast grouse – a small game bird found in the Scottish hills and mountains as well as the moorlands of Northern England. They were a fine match. The 2005 was beautifully balanced with soft concentrated evolved fruit along with silky tannins and a long finish. Arguably now at 17 years old it has reached its peak, although I’m sure on previous experiences of Villeneuve’s wines this 2005 Grand Clos will be good for at least another decade and probably considerably longer.

Roast grouse with the 2005 Grand Clos

Grand Vin!



With the rapidly escalating energy crisis along with the return of serious inflation it is not surprising that discount supermarkets like Aldi are doing well in the UK. Just last week Aldi became the 4th largest UK supermarket pushing Morrisons down into 5th place. Tesco, Sainsbury and ASDA occupy the first three places. Aldi’s success isn’t just down to low prices as these are backed up quality. I continue to be impressed by the quality of Aldi’s wines. From time to time they have batches of special wines that usually disappear rapidly. This fine barrel fermented Chenin Blanc may well be one of them. It has rich, racy opulent fruit with well judged wood notes. Very good to drink now it may well improve with further time in bottle.


Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book has been going since the late 1970s and is surely the longest published and most successful pocket wine guide in English – perhaps in any language. I was responsible for updating the Loire entries, so any errors here are my fault.

Now @ 90˚ for another 10 days.




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