The origin of the vineyards of Châteaumeillant can be traced back to the 5th century. Châteaumeillant was the Meylan of the Biturigians, and home to the Biturican vines, the Médiolanum (the Roman name for Milan) of Peutinger, an important road junction between Rome and Gaul and a major storing ground for amphorae.
Gregory of Tours confirms the existence of vines in this region in his Historiae Francorum of 582.
Between 1220 and 1275, a series of charters were issued relating to the means of production of quality wines, and the labour which was enlisted under feudal rule, known as the "corvée". Amongst the governing principles established under these charters was the principle of the "ban des vendanges" or the announcement of the official start of harvesting, which exists even today.
In 1773, new vine stocks were brought from Lyons.
By 1830, Gamay, the native variety of Beaujolais, had become the most widely planted vine in this area.
Châteaumeillant is especially renowned for its "vin gris", or grey wine, which is produced by pressing the Gamay grapes immediately after harvesting.
The wines of Châteaumeillant were awarded the V.D.Q.S (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) quality status in 1965.
The Châteaumeillant vineyard is planted on predominantly sandy or clayey-sandy siliceous soils.
It is based on seven villages :
Châteaumeillant, St-Maur, Vesdun (in the department of Cher) Champillet, Feusines, Néret and Urciers (in the department of Indre).
The red wines have aromas of ripe fruits and are full-bodied on the palate with an almost peppery finish. They are ideal served with poultry and white meat dishes and cheeses.
Rosé wines : The rosé or "gris" wines have a unique grapeyness, freshness and fruitiness.
They have aromas of white fruits, in particular of vine grown peach, which are rounded off by a hint of sweetness.
These wines are fresh and lively on the palate and are perfect for summer drinking either as an aperitif or to accompany grilled meats.