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Saumur


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Loire Right Anjou Right Saumur


Much less exclusive and well-known than Coteaux du Layon, Saumur is nonetheless a very good white wine appellation--and, in recent years, has realized its potential for red wine. Saumur is a massive appellation, just a little under 10,000 acres, and produces about two million cases per year of wines of all colors. These wines would be among the best of the Loire for American buyers if not for their insistently excessive prices.

Although it is often overlooked in comparison to the more famous regions of Anjou (although even they are generally a bit underrated and not very often heard about in the United States), Saumur is quite a good appellation, producing very easy-to-drink wines of a number of styles. Like most Loire wines, they are "tough", and can age rather well. Named for the commune of Saumur, the birthplace of Coco Chanel and hub of the region, the Saumur region stretches across a large cut of the Loire.

History

The appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny were created in 1936, whereas Saumur Mousseux was created exactly 40 years later.

Climate and Viticulture

Lying to the east of Coteaux du Layon on the banks of the Loire river, the Saumur appellation is nearly as suited to producing Chenin Blanc, but due to a different climate has much more difficulty producing good noble-rotted wines. However, dry whites from Saumur are just as good as the Coteaux examples and reds are generally better.

Although there may be a slight difference in weather between the two appellations, the major discrepancy can be explained by the difference in soil types. Whereas the schist soils of Coteaux du Layon only contain a little rocky sandstone, the Saumur soils are full of limestone, which is generally chalky and not too deep. The soils are not conducive to noble-rotted wine production, but the dry white wines produced here are usually more gentle and rounded than those of Coteaux du Layon.

Grape Varieties

Four major varieties dominate the proceedings.

Major Producers

These four producers are what we consider the top producers of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny.

Subregions

For such a small appellation, Saumur actually has a surprising amount of subappellations: