Chateaumeillant (18 Cher, Centre-Val de Loire) celebrates with its Chateaumeillant wine fair 1 April 2023.

Close to what is claimed to be the geographic centre of France, and about 35 miles south of Bourges , this is a little-known and seldom seen wine in the UK. Unlike its nearest neighbours in Sancerre, Menetou-Salon, Quincy and Reuilly which major on great Sauvignon blancs, the wines of Chateaumeillant are red and rose, made from Gamay (the Beaujolais grape), Pinot Noir (the Burgundy grape) and Pinot Gris. As such they are dry, light and refreshing. “

The appellation is an AOC, having been promoted from VDQS staus (Vin Delimité de Qualité Superieure) which is an classification above Vin de Pays, but below Appellation Controllee (AOC). As such it has to come from a defined local area around Chateaumeillant, and there are limits on the grapes used and their proportions, yield etc. Usually VDQS wines are ultimately upgraded to full AOC status, usually with somewhat tougher constraints on yield and production. Certainly Chateaumeillant is distinctively different from other local wines, but I cannot comment on the quality of the wine having never tasted any, and there are but a few UK stockists. Majestic Wine stocks the red from Jacques Rouzé “Raspberry, redcurrant and red cherry characters form the backbone of this wine, while hints of pepper and graphite add a touch of savoury complexity.”

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Châteaumeillant is an appellation with thousands of years of grape growing history that specializes in rosé wine known as vin gris, as well as red wines made from Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes.

In the center of France, Châteaumeillant, lies in the Indre and Cher departments, and spans across seven villages: Châteaumeillant, St-Maur, Vesdun, Champillet, Feusines, Néret and Urciers. The appellation’s 82 hectares (202 acres) is predominantly comprised of sandy or clayey-sandy siliceous soils.

Vineyards in Châteaumeillant are traced to the 5th century. As the Melyan of the Biturigians, Châteaumeillant was home to the Biturican vines. The area was also an important road junction between Rome and Gaul, where wine was stored in amphorae. The first confirmed existence of wine in Châteaumeillant came from Gregory of Tours in Historiae Francorum in 582.(

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