A Complicated Evolution
The first written mention of vineyards in Saumur dates back to the year 515. They evolved under the strong influence of the monasteries. In addition, geographical proximity to the Loire River has encouraged the export of these wines. In this period, it used to be one of the most prosperous trading centres along the river. Saumur benefited from many useful circumstances, which were heightened by the protection of the Count of Anjou.
Over the centuries, the development of the vineyards grew in proportion to the city of Samur itself. After the Edict of Nantes revoked the rights of Protestants in Franc, Saumur declined, as it was the religious capital of Protestantism. Trade collapsed, and the number of wine producers declined significantly. Instead, they decided to focus on higher-quality production. Unfortunately, the following generation was devastated, as they had to defend themselves against the severe frost of 1789, the Revolution, the wars of Vendée and the phylloxera crisis. It took over 20 years to build the vineyards again and to restore them to their former glory.
A variety of terroirs
The vineyards of the Saumur appellation, comprising 1,400 hectares, are characterised by its white Tuffeau terroir: sedimentary soils dating back to the Cretaceous Period. However, four different terroirs exist in the region. The diversity of the entire region creates unique and remarkable single-varietal wines from Cabernet Franc, Chenin, Pineau Aunis, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. In addition, the climate in the region offers very low rainfall and mild temperatures.
Subtle white wines
The wines from Saumur represent all the finesse and elegance of the Loire Valley. The white wines, lively and fruity, impress with their body. On the nose, notes of tropical fruit, citrus and pink grapefruit dominate. In the mouth, they are simple yet powerful, with a remarkable personality. They change over the years to iodized notes, developing roundness but yet keeping their freshness.
The appellation Saumur-Champigny
The AOC Saumur-Champigny belongs to the AOC Saumur and includes nine municipalities in the department of Maine-et-Loire, near the town of Champigny. Overall, the appellation is composed of 1,500 hectares. The soils are comprised of layers of sand, gravel and clay. The notoriety of the region is made by the production of red wine. Unusual for the region, as the Loire is often only known for its white wine production, but equally remarkable red wines are produced.
The red wines have a garnet colour and reflect the light. The nose is often spicy and mingles notes of red fruits and licorice. They are full-bodied, fine on the palate and are remarkably fresh. They can be drunk young, but it is recommended to let them age for a few years so that they can develop their full complexity.