top of page

Tasting the Loire: Anjou-Saumur

We started the Loire regional view with Pay Nantes and are now heading east to its neighbouring region, Anjou-Saumur.


Saumur Vineyard
Image courtesy of Sebastien Gaudard

Anjou-Saumur is famed for its dry and off-dry Chenin Blanc and highly characteristic Cabernet Franc. It is a vibrant area with over 45,000 acres of vineyards, 19 appellations, and over 1,000 grape growers who collectively produce 119 million bottles each year.


The easiest way to understand Anjou-Saumur, though speaking in general terms, is that Anjou excels with its Chenin Blanc expressions, and Saumur is the guru of Cabernet Franc, and sparkling wine.


Anjou produces the best sweet wines in the appellations of Quarts de Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, and Bonnezeaux. It also makes the most renowned dry Chenin Blanc in the appellation of Savennières. These are definite areas to visit in the glass.


Saumur, specifically Saumur-Champigny, is a go-to for red wine made from Cabernet Franc. Saumur-Champigny is an AOC located around the towns of Saumur and Champigny-sur-Veude, and the area's wines are one of the archetypal examples of how Cabernet Franc best expresses itself: fresh, vibrant, with floral aromatics and chewy red berries.


Geography and Climate


Though not right at the Atlantic, the climate of Anjou-Saumur is still maritime (warm summers and wet winters) and markedly different from its neighbouring regions further inland and east.


Like Pays Nantes, metamorphic soils run rampant here, and, to a lesser degree, limestone soils are found primarily on the eastern part of the Anjou-Saumur.

Anjou-Saumur
Image courtesy of Vineyards.com


The Wines of Anjou-Saumur


Anjou-Saumur is a truly diverse wine region when it comes to wine styles. Of the wines produced, 31% of it is red, 35% rosé, 18% white, and 16% of the production is sparkling. Fun fact, Saumur is the third largest sparkling wine appellation in France.


The 19 regional appellations are (the bolded appellations are of note):

Anjou, Anjou-Coteaux de la Loire, Anjou-Villages, AnjouVillages Brissac, Bonnezeaux, Cabernet d’Anjou, Coteaux de l’Aubance, Coteaux de Saumur, Coteaux du Layon, Coulée de Serrant, HautPoitou, Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru, Rosé d’Anjou, Saumur, Saumur-Champigny, Savennières, Savennières Roche aux Moines, Crémant de Loire, Rosé de Loire. PGI: Loire Valley.


Bonnezeaux:

Bonnezeaux is a small appellation known for producing sweet white wines from Chenin Blanc grapes affected by noble rot. These wines are rich, complex, and highly aromatic, with honey, apricot, and exotic fruit flavours.


Coteaux du Layon

Coteaux du Layon is another sweet wine appellation famous for its luscious dessert wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes. These wines often have a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, with flavours of ripe fruits, and honey.


Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru

Quarts de Chaume is a prestigious Grand Cru appellation within the Coteaux du Layon area, known for producing some of the finest sweet wines in the Loire Valley. These wines are highly sought after for their exceptional quality, concentration, and aging potential.


Saumur-Champigny:

This is a red wine appellation known for its elegant Cabernet Franc wines. These wines are characterized by their vibrant red fruit flavours, herbal notes, and refreshing acidity. Saumur-Champigny reds are versatile, food-friendly wines that age well in the bottle.


Savennières,  

While the region is known for its approachable Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, we encourage you to try Savennières, a white wine made from Chenin Blanc that will have you looking at this grape in a whole new light.


Savennières wines are big. So much so that I have paired them with a steak in the past. The wine is full-bodied, with robust acidity that makes it worthy of ageing, ripe tropical aromas that contract on the palate. While this wine could be made off-dry, most producers have focused on dry styles.


Coulée de Serrant

The appellation houses just one producer, Nicolas Joli of Coulée de Serrant. The Coulee de Serrant vineyards are thought to have been established in the 12th Century by Cistercian monks, and historically wines from the vineyards have been regalled by the famous. Given the vineyards status and continued dedication to quality it was granted its own AOC status. The AOC monopole spans 7 hectares.


Coulée de Serrant is an AOC within the greater Savennières AOC.


Savennières Roche aux Moines

Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines covers 81 acres amongst six producers. These vineyards benefit from south facing slopes aiding in ripeness and producing a rich style of Chenin Blanc.


Comentários


bottom of page