The soils on which the vines flourish have the characteristic of being covered with sand, gravel and clay on the surface and Tuffeau chalk on the subsoil. This very particular soil makes it possible to produce exceptional red wines. In this region the climate is of temperate oceanic influence.
The wines of this appellation respect a very precise code and are composed of a main grape variety which is Cabernet Franc. This one can be used as a single grape variety but also as an assembly. In this case, Cabernet Franc must represent at least 85% of the composition of the wine. When it is made from a blend, the AOC Saumur-champigny is composed of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pineau d'Aunis.
These are wines that can be drunk young, but winegrowers recommend that they be left to age a little so that they can develop all their complexity and potential. This wine has a good ageing potential and can be drunk up to 20 years after bottling.
It is between Saumur and Montsoreau that the Saumur-Champigny appellation nestles. It is also close to various production areas such as Chinon or Bourgueil. The Saumur-Champigny wine-growing area is known for its diversity of red wines that are both dense and smooth.
What you need to know about the Saumur-Champigny appellation
The Saumur-Champigny appellation is located in Maine-et-Loire. Spreading out on the left bank of the Loire, the estate surrounds the village of Saumur. The communes of Saumur, Montsoreau, Chacé, Parnay, Turquant, Varrains, Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg and Souzay-Champigny are part of this production area.
The AOC Saumur-Champigny extends over the hillsides. With a surface area of 1,580 hectares, it produces an average of 83,000 hectolitres of Saumur-Champigny wine per year. It benefits from a temperate oceanic climate, which plays a part in obtaining fleshy and elegant reds with intense tannins.
An exceptional terroir creates exceptional drinks. Grapes grow on soils made of clay, gravel and sand on the surface. The subsoil contains tufa chalk.
What are the characteristics of Saumur-Champigny wines ?
The AOC Saumur-Champigny is mainly produced from Cabernet Franc. This grape variety is very often used for the vinification of red wines. However, producers can produce blends with other grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pineau d'Aunis. In these circumstances, Saumur-Champigny wine must contain at least 85% Cabernet Franc.
Some specificities characterize this appellation. The reds have an intense and bright ruby colour. As they age, they acquire a garnet colour with darker highlights.
During the tasting, you will appreciate the smoothness of the wine. This is a common characteristic of all recently bottled Saumur-Champigny wines. This flavour is reinforced if they are consumed later. On the nose, the reds give off blackcurrant, redcurrant or raspberry aromas during their youth. Spicy (tobacco, nutmeg, liquorice) and vegetal (mint, fern...) notes are added. Sometimes, you will feel smells of green pepper.
As time goes by, the spicy, smoky and toasted scents of the appellation become stronger. They are then replaced by aromas reminding us of the tufa cellar or fresh leather.
When buying Saumur-Champigny wines, there are certain details you should take into account. Be aware that these drinks contain a minimum of 10.5% alcohol. This amount can go up to 13%. Saumur-Champigny wines can be drunk young between 2 and 5 years after bottling.
How should the Saumur-Champigny appellation be appreciated?
Saumur-Champigny wines are complex. To better understand them, a visit of an estate is a must. To do so, visit the Saint Just vineyard. Nestled in the heart of the Saumur-Champigny appellation, it straddles the terroirs of Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg and Clos à Brézé.
On site, you will learn more about the reds of the production area, the grape varieties, organic farming and much more. After your visit, you may be tempted to purchase Saumur-Champigny wines.
To go with these wines, you have to make good pairings. For a successful starter, opt for a young wine to be served with a mixed salad. If you keep the same wine for the dish, prepare grilled meat or fish.
A hamburger or a trout fillet will do just fine. However, with an older wine, prefer game or red meat such as guinea fowl legs with porcini mushrooms or baeckeoffe. Finally, the appellation goes perfectly with a cheese of character.
They can also be drunk up to 20 years after bottling. In order for the wines to reveal all their flavours, they should be served at the right temperature. Younger wines should be drunk between 13 and 15°C. Older wines should be drunk between 16 and 18°C.
When it comes to wine tasting : The visual aspect will make you discover a luminous dress with a beautiful ruby red colour. Over the years the red ruby colour gives way to the garnet and gives these wines much darker reflections. When it is young, this wine delights our nose with aromas of red and black fruits (blackcurrant, redcurrant, raspberry...), spicy notes (nutmeg, liquorice) and floral notes. The more years go by, the more you will notice leathery, smoky and grilled notes. The palate is full-bodied, evolves to balance on the end and has very fine and velvety tannins.