J. de Villebois Crémant de Loire Brut NV

Medium gold color; apple, white flowers, quince, pear, crushed gravel on the nose; green apple, honeydew melon, lemon, citrus, vanilla, minerality on the palate.

J. de Villebois Crémant de Loire Brut NV

Brut, very dry; very vigorous bubbles; bright, light, fresh. Méthode traditionnelle blend of 60% chenin blanc, 35% chardonnay, 5% cabernet franc. Grapes are hand-picked. After second fermentation in the bottle, the wine ages for a year in the winery’s naturally temperature-controlled limestone caves; 12% ABV.

Crémant de Loire can be made anywhere in the Loire Valley. Villebois is based in Seigy and Verdigny, in the heart of the valley. Joost and Miguela de Villebois are the owners. The winery is particularly noted for sauvignon blanc, with premium wines from appellations of Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Touraine and IGP Val de Loire. This is their only sparkling offering.

Villebois winery

The winery story begins in 2004 when Joost de Villebois found a small, well-run winery in the Touraine region. While the winery and wine maker-owner had long reputation for quality sauvignon blanc, he lacked a successor. Joost de Villebois, his wife, Miguela, and a close group of friends purchased the winery. Thierry Merlet is the winemaker, a shareholder, and sales manager. 

Joost and Miguela de Villebois

Joost de Willebois (that is not a typo, the family name is spelled both ways) had major career outside of wine. The website notes: “Born in the Netherlands into a family with noble French origin, Joost de Willebois’ international business career started in France. While working in Bordeaux, his passion for wine grew and he eventually completed evening courses in winemaking at the University of Bordeaux. After a career at Dutch Royal Shell and ING Group, he became chairman of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange and vice chairman of Euronext in 2004. When Euronext merged with NYSE in 2007, he became a member of the newly established global executive committee. He withdrew from the NYSE Euronext Group in 2010” [and turned his main focus on the winery].

Through acquisition of Fournier Père et Fils in 2015, Villebois became one of the leading wineries in the Loire Valley. The website notes the winery is “run by a team of seasoned international professionals without losing the valuable aspects of a family wine business.”

J. de Villebois Crémant de Loire Brut NV is very dry, citrusy, zesty, fresh. Excellent value from quality Loire Valley maker. Primarily chenin blanc and chardonnay, but a dash of cabernet franc gives it extra depth. With its vibrant acidity and freshness, ideal as aperitif. Pair with appetizers and snacks; shellfish; lean fish. Also could work with deserts such as méringues and chocolates. $13-20

Villebois website

U.S. importer, Vineyard Brands, Villebois landing page

Villebois vineyard
Villebois vineyard
Villebois vineyard
Thierry Merlet and Joost de Villebois
Villebois vineyard in winter