I love the Loire Valley, I also love Saumur. My first breathtaking sight of the Château de Saumur was driving over the Cessart Bridge and seeing it high up on the hill surrounded by row upon row of vines. A sight for sore eyes for sure. A land of most memorable French wines and beautiful scenery.
The region from Montsoreau to the Puy-Notre-Dame and to Saumur, includes not just some of the best tasting Fine Wines of Anjou and Saumur but also some of the best views. It is a lovely area to visit, full of vineyards, Châteaux, history and charm.
Within the 49,000 acres of this region there are 32 AOCs, providing a rich palette of delicious wines from dry to sweet whites and rosés, characterful red wines and very fine sparkling wines. In fact my favourite sparkling wine by far is Bouvet Ladubay.
These renowned vineyards grace us with the likes of Saumur-Champigny, the sweet Coteaux de Saumur, and the sparkling Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire.
Fine Wines of Anjou and Saumur
The unique characteristics of Saumur wines comes from the limestone subsoil.
Saumur AOCs offer a wide range of wines, mainly Chenin and Cabernet Franc from dry to very sweet, still and sparkling with multiple aromas and flavours. AOCs for you to try are Cabernet d’Anjou and Rosé d’Anjou, Rosé de Loire and Cabernet de Saumur, Saumur Rouge, Saumur Champigny, Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame, Saumur Blanc.
The pride of the Saumur and Touraine regions are undoubtedly their delicate sparkling wines, they are definitely worth sampling.and several producers are open for vineyard tours.
Troglodyte Wine Galleries
Visiting a troglodyte site is always an eye-opening and interesting experience. At Bouvet Ladubay you can follow an 8-km underground cycle trail beneath the estate; the troglodyte tunnels here are more than a 1000 years old.
The troglodyte galleries are far below the landscape and riverside of the Saumur and Touraine regions. They are former tuffeau Stone quarries, this white stone was used to build many of the Loire châteaux, these underground tunnels and caves now house hotels, mushroom farms and wine cellars. These cellars are particularly ideal for storing and tasting sparkling wines.
Château de Brézé
Château of Brézé is home to one of the oldest vineyards in Saumur, it dates from the 15th century and is at the heart of 28 hectares of superb vines.
During the 16th century, its cuvées found favour with King René of Anjou and the famous poet Joachim of Bellay. It is also believed that this Saumur wine was one of Louis XIV’s favourites. Brézé wines therefore enjoy the Royal patronage and have inevitably found their way to many a noble’s table.
The vineyard is planted with Chenin and Cabernet Franc and operates under an unusual feature of being divided into individual enclosed plots (Clos) that are all cared for with very specific attention to detail. Each cuvée is named after the plot it was produced from: Clos David, Clos de la Rue, Clos du Tue-Loup, Clos de l’Étoile and Clos Bonne-Nouvelle.
The vineyards continue to produce exceptional wine but since 2009, methods have changed to organic and biodynamic wine making techniques in accordance with today’s trends
The ancient troglodyte presses are still there for visitors to see today, they testify to the estate’s ancestral wine making activity.
A pioneer for Loire fine sparkling wines, Jean-Baptiste Ackerman founded his famous company in spectacular cellars dug in tuffeau limestone in 1811.
He started in the area of Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire in the traditional way.
Your visit will include:
“A Journey to the Centre of the Bubble”, a unique scenography that takes you through the art of producing sparkling wines
A tour which includes videos, entertainment and interactive games for the whole family
Tasting of the iconic wines of the Company
The Ackerman Company has now joined its wine making expertise with select artists whose works of art brighten the space.
Bouvet Ladubay Cellars
In 1851 Etienne Bouvet created the Bouvet-Ladubay company. He incorporated his wife’s name with his brand name. Within a few years, these fine sparkling wines of Bouvet-Ladubay, Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire, were exported worldwide. His wine making expertise earned more than 460 medals in 40 years. Along the 5 km of caves, visitors will learn all stages of wine making. You will be introduced to some of Ladubays most delicious wines.
Gratien and Meyer Cellars
The Art Deco architecture of these buildings is as stunning as the unique view over the area, poised above the river Loire. The visit gives you access to the vast tunnels that were dug into the tuffeau during the Middle Ages. Now 5 million bottles are stored and aging. A scenographic journey illustrates a century of work founded in tradition and expertise. Your visit includes information of the wine making process of both sparkling and still wines from harvest to tastings. Any wines that you purchase can be kept cool by using one of my choices of handy portable wine coolers.
Langlois Château Cellars
The Langlois Chateau retains a family atmosphere, that has continued with traditional wine-making methods since 1885 and is truly a remarkable wine site. The vines overlook the cellars dug into the tuffeau.
Visitors are treated to a “Behind the Scenes at the Winery”, presentation which comprises of:
Introduction to oenology in the wine school
Visit of cellars with wine presses and fermenting tanks for white and red wines
Visit of 300 meters of underground cellars, to learn about the stages of a traditional method
Commentated tasting of both still and sparkling wines.
Louis de Grenelle Cellars
The Louis de Grenelle cellars are situated in the town of Saumur
Visitors are invited to explore this former tuffeau quarry, where more than 3 million bottles are maturing.
The visit explains how each generation has retained the traditional methods of wine making.
This is the last family run wine house in Saumur and has become a great name in Saumur Brut.
The guide introduces wine tasting of the traditional method wines which are developed on the site:
- Saumur Brut
- Saumur Rosé
- Crémant de Loire
- Rouge Mousseux
A selection of other Loire wines is also presented.
Visitors can also see an exhibition of the winemakers craft
Veuve Amiot Cellars
In 1884, Elisa Amiot, the widow of Armand Amiot, founded her sparkling wine company in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent.
A woman of character and substance she set herself a challenge to meet her own high expectations. She would have had to go to battle to be heard and taken seriously in a male dominated time and business.
She developed a prestigious Saumur wine known worldwide for its quality. This traditional method wine making company speaks of the elegance and class of its founding era.
The guided tour includes:
The cellars dug in tuffeau limestone
The modernized production site in operation (Monday to Thursday) allows the visitor to follow all the development process according to the traditional method.
Commentated wine tastings
Valuable tips on food and wine pairings
Winemakers Robert et Marcel
This cellar was founded in 1956. The leadership of forty growers undertook the first collective wine making in the autumn of the same year.
The cooperative covers around 10 km of tunnels that are dug into the heart of the vineyard and today it tells a unique story of human enterprise. Foresight and great leadership has led to its success as a Loire wine producer.
Your guided visit will include:
The great 12th century, vaulted cellar and the deepest, bottling chamber in Europe
Tasting the appellation wines of Saumur:
- Saumur Blanc
- Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire
Well I hope I have formed an interest in Saumur wines within you. These fines Wines of Anjou and Saumur are well worth consideration. The history, landscape and architecture make this region a most interesting one to visit. While you’re in the area there are some fabulous gardens that are open to the public too, some have their own vineyards.
In researching this article I realised how much I would like to re-visit this region and it’s quality vineyards.
I also came across this article during my research, “ The murky origins of sparkling wine” it’s a fun and insightful read, Dom Perignon turns outs to be part myth and propaganda.
Read it here
For accommodation Loire Valley, click here for a wide range of hotels in this undoubtedly relaxing, wine-lovers area.
Fancy staying in a Chateau in Saumur? check out this stunning accommodation.
However you may be pleased to know that you don’t have to go all the way to the Loire to try some of these fine wines of Anjou and Saumur, you can do so right here.
Please share with friends and family and add any views or questions in the comments box below and I will get right back to you.