Château de Vaugaudry

The Château de Vaugaudry dates beck to the 16th century, when the property belonged to the Pommier family, seigneurs in Chinon. One branch of the Pommiers owned Vaugaudry; another owned an adjacent plot called Plessis-Gerbault, which is now part of Vaugaudry. The château itself was constructed in 1820 by Senator Joubert, a member of the French Parliament, on a site formerly occupied by a much smaller structure. It is said that the original owners selected this site because of its perfect view of the ancient Château de Chinon, located just to the north above the River Vienne. Little did they know that by choosing this site they would also include some of the best parcels of the Chinon winegrowing area – a place where the Cabernet Franc (Breton) regularly grows to perfection. The vineyard eventually expanded to 58 hectares and a handsome winery or chai was constructed in 1903; the surface under vine now stands at 12 hectares.

Today the Château de Vaugaudry is owned by Antoine Belloy, who has restored the château itself and has extensively replanted the vineyards. The average age of the vines is now over 25 years old, and the cellar is outfitted with modern temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks that automatically regulate pigeage (skin contact). Since most Loire Valley reds are made to be drunk young, it is important not to make the wine too tannic; these new tanks make the winemaker’s task considerably easier.

Most of the production is in red wine, although a light, fresh rosé is also grown. The reds are aged one year in oak prior to bottling, and a separate cuvée, Cuvée Prestige, identifies selected lots. Reserve bottlings, from old vines, are given additional oak aging and are marked “Plessis-Gerbault,” after the original owners in the 16th century. These are sensational Chinons; fragrant and polished, with vibrant fruit; delicious in their youth but gaining even more from bottle age.