The Bistrot de la Place in Saumur (49 Maine-et-Loire, Pays de Loire) has a good range of local wines on offer to quaff along with some excellent home-cooked dishes at reasonable prices. This is an ideal venue in the heart of the attractive town of Saumur to do a bit of research on local vineyards without committing yourself.
Naturally the wines of Saumur (red, white and sparkling) are available in abundance, together with red Saumur Champigny and the Anjou and Coteaux du Layon wines of Domaine Leduc-Frouin at Sousigné
Saumur wine bar Le Bistrot de la Place – Bar à vins, Bistrot gourmand, Restaurant – 16, Place Saint Pierre – 49400 Saumur
A few miles south of Saumur there is an excellent B&B at Le Coudray-Macouard – Manoir de Boisairault an 18th-century manor house in the village with en suite rooms and views of the mature gardens.
If you are in the Loire Valley for the weekend of 31 August – 1 September 2019, you can explore the vineyards and Loire wines in a different way,
Vignes, Vins et Randos is an organised series of walks throughout the Loire Valley at various locations featuring Loire wines from the Atlantic Coast through Muscadet, Anjou, Saumur as far east as Touraine:
Organised hikes around the themes of local heritage, vineyards and local wines.
A central theme in 2018 was music in the heart of the vines
A long the walks you will find different activities and gastronomic pauses with local produce such as : pork rillons, rillettes, goat’s cheese, apples and more… The local traditions, expertise and heritage will be the main attractions.
A previous highlight of the walk was an acoustic concert in the vines with professional musicians selected by the organisers of the local Avoine Zone Blues festival who play jazz, swing, gypsy, French or classical music. There is a choice to satisfy everyone’s taste in music!
– The deaf and hard of hearing accompanied on the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine and Saumur-Champigny walks.
– Hot air ballon on the Chinon walk.
– Horse and cart rides on the Quarts-de-Chaume, and Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau walks.
– Guided descriptions of the vineyard landscapes by experts from the Mission Val de Loire on the Quarts-de-Chaume, Saumur-Champigny , Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau and Vouvray walks.
For more info on this weekend of Loire wines see www.vignesvinsrandos.fr/
There’s a new free map and guide available from InterLoire (the official wine body for the region) to the vineyards of the Loire Valley available to download and in English:-
The light glistening on the river and its tributaries is a wonderful sight. The cellars carved into white limestone, magical châteaux, magnificent gardens, hillsides covered in vines ; hundreds of sights that still hold the memory of kings, queens, princes and artists like Rabelais, Ronsard, Balzac, Leonardo da Vinci, and Joachim du Bellay… The Loire vineyards offer charm, grace and surprise around every corner. It is a region for good living, a valley of abundance, a source of flavourful wines and generous aromas,and we would like to share all that with you.
This wine region (which does not include other appellations which are nevertheless close to the River Loire such as Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Quincy, Menetou-Salon etc – these are all classified as “Vins du Centre” ) does cover the Loire from the Atlantic to Orleans and includes 68 separate appellations and has more than 7,000 wine producers making it France’s third most important vineyard.
For each winemaker there is a comprehensive entry – e.g. for one of our favourites, the Domaine Leduc-Frouin in Anjou:-
The Leduc-Frouin estate invites you to discover its wines in a guided tasting session. Guided tours upon request. Groups: tours and wine tastings, reservations necessary for meals.
Monday – Friday: 9 am -12 pm / 2 pm – 6 pm, Saturday: 2 pm – 6 pm, and mornings by appointment only.
AOC Anjou Blanc ; Anjou Gamay ; Anjou Rouge ; Anjou Villages ; Cabernet d’Anjou ; Coteaux du Layon ; Rosé d’Anjou ; Rosé de Loire ; Saumur Brut.
Antoine et Nathalie LEDUC La Seigneurie – Sousigné
T:02 41 59 42 83
This is an invaluable guide to wine touring in the region, which does offer many delights for the wine and food enthusiast and others.
The winemakers of Anjou and Saumur offer to brighten up February with a weekend wine Festival on 18 – 19 May 2019 at Challonnes-sur-Loire (49 Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire). This is not be be confused with the Loire Valley Wine Fair in Angers at the end of January, which is a trade event. This Fete des Vins d’Anjou sounds much more fun with an opportunity to taste wines from the 29 appellations in Anjou/Saumur (no – I could not identify all of them) – and an exhibition on wine, Anjou wine tasting and a tour of the cellars, an exhibition of agricultural and wine-growing equipment, “a wine brotherhoods parade complete with enthronements” (i.e. mainly men dressing up in strange garb and indulging in some quasi-historical ceremonies) and a contest to find the “Best Anjou Tasters”.
The region does offer pretty much the whole gamut of red, white and rosé wines, dry, medium, dessert; still and sparkling – you might be surprised at the quality of some of the Cabernet Franc reds!
Not sure if our friends from Domaine Leduc-Frouin will be there – we used to stock their wines and miss the chance to taste them as regularly as we used to. But I hear recently that they had a good write up in the “Revue du Vin de France”, France’s most serious wine magazine – their red Anjou Rouge AV 2005 was rated at 17.5/20 and an impressive 19/20 for their stunning dessert Chenin – Coteaux du Layon AC Nectar 2002.
For more info on the domaine and their wines see www.leduc-frouin.com
For more info see www.anjou-tourisme.com
My friends at Domaine Leduc-Frouin in Anjou are rightly pleased with their new website at www.leduc-frouin.com. We at ALLEZ VINS! worked with firstly Chantal, and then her son Antoine for many years – starting in 1989. Two friends and I were on a long wine buying trip around Alsace, Beaujolais and the Loire, and our pre-arranged visit to the Loire was a great disappointment – insipid sweet rose and overpriced bubbly. By chance I recalled another contact I had been given by a French-Canadian wine grower, so we dropped in on Domaine Leduc-Frouin. We were warmly welcomed, but clearly we were being vetted by Madame to see if we were serious or not. From that first visit followed many others, and many orders for their Anjou Blanc Sec, Chardonnay, Anjou Rouge, Anjou-Villages and the stunning Coteaux du Layon.
The domaine is pretty but workmanlike, although they are developing the tufa caves where they age some of their barrel-matured wines.Situated at Sousigné, near Martigné-Briand (49 Maine-et-Loire, Pays de Loire) about 20 miles south of Angers they are at the heart of the wine-growing area, which includes the treasured valley of the Layon river. The Coteaux du Layon is a rich dessert wine made from pure Chenin Blanc which unlike the dessert wines in Aquitaine (Sauternes, Saussignac, Monbazillac etc) is not affected by botrytis, although the grapes are late harvested to optimise the concentration of the sugars.
The Anjou reds are predominantly from Cabernet Franc, which can be a difficult grape, but in the better years the Domaine produces some excellently fruity, raspberry reds which are delightful.
In the summer of 2004 Antoine Leduc came over to the UK and hosted a tutored wine-tasting for Allez Vins! customers in Harrogate, and joined the Allez Vins! stand at the Harrogate Wine Fair. The tutored tasting was a huge success, as it is seldom possible to have an informed tasting of these quality wines. Supermarket versions, when available, are often rather bland, whereas Domaine Leduc-Frouin’s are always full of character and style.
Antoine, his sister Nathalie and mother Chantal are charming people and always provide a warm welcome – so it is worth a visit to the domaine if you are in the area. www.leduc-frouin.com
Self-catering accommodation nearby at Gite “La Belle Angevine” at Brigné (2 km)
“La Seigneurie” was the property of the Marquis de Becquedelivière until 1933 when the Leduc-Frouin family, who had cultivated it since 1873, became the owners. The vineyard has been using “natural” techniques for over 4 years now with a regime known as “Terra Vitis” – a charter for production which respects both the soil and the vine.
The domaine is run by Madame Leduc, her son, Antoine and his sister Nathalie – in the village of Sousigné to the east of Martigné-Briand and south of Angers.
The domaine is quite a beauty-spot with remains of numerous troglodyte dwellings dug out of the sedimentary rock.The 32 hectare vineyard itself is situated on a gently-rising slope facing south. For reds the Cabernet Franc and Grolleau grapes are grown, whilst for the whites it is predominantly Chenin Blanc with a small amount of Chardonnay.
All harvesting is undertaken by hand (about 30 people are required) enabling careful selection and cutting of the bunches.
For the white wines a delicate pressing is undertaken as soon as the grapes arrive in the cellar. The temperature during fermentation is kept between 15o and 20o. Rosé wines are obtained by a brief maceration of the skins for between 24 and 36 hours. For red wines the bunches are de-stemmed followed by maceration for a period of 10-15 days. The juice is pumped over daily to ensure that the maximum extract.
Anjou AC Rouge Domaine Leduc-Frouin
extraordinarliy fresh and fruity – tons of raspberry juiciness make this a delightful red and great example of a different style of Cabernet Franc than the 1998 vintage which we also listed. Significantly, this wine is made under the names of Antione & Nathalie Leduc – the younger generation – although the nature of the vintage is probably more significant, as Nathalie and Antoine have been actively involved in the domaine for many years.
Anjou-Villages AC Rouge Domaine Leduc-Frouin
This is an excellent example of Cabernet Franc – the red grape of the Loire. With some bottle age and older vines,the ripe raspberry fruitiness is blending wonderfully with the tannins to produce a seriously good wine with great depth and complexity – great with roast lamb!
“A light spicy aroma leads to a palate of blackcurrant fruits and ripe tannins”
Only Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used – Cabernet Franc for elegance and smoothness, Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested from vines on stony hot soils, is responsible for the wines’ structure and tannins.
It is clear from its garnet red and intense colour that this is a fine wine of rich complexity, Its distinctive nose – the Cabernet Franc providing notes of violet, iris, strawberry and raspberry, combines with the Cabernet Sauvignon from which it takes its powerful aromas of blackcurrants and dewberries. The wine-making process and its maturing for at least 12 months in oak, result in a wine with smooth tannins, rich in substance and enabling it to age up to 15 years.
Cabernet d’Anjou AC Domaine Leduc-Frouin
A rich, sweeter rosé with delicate acidity and buckets of summerfruit flavours (Loire). This is not one of those indifferent Loire rosés we used to find in the supermarket – this has tons of character and a multiplicity of flavours AND, although sweetish, it is not a cloying sugary sweetness – more the natural sweetness of summer fruits. Don’t disregard it as a “wine for granny” (although Grannies will enjoy it I’m sure) – try it with spicy, exotic foods such as Thai or Chinese dishes where the flavours will both enhance and contrast with the wine.
UK Wines Online says “A blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The climate during 2003 has brought plenty of colour to this rosé; even with just 2 days maceration (colour extraction). Sweeter grapes too has boosted this wine, which, as Antoine Leduc stated is “fruity, sweet and fresh”. Quite light in body and very drinkable. While medium in style the touch of tannin on the finish gives the wine more substance than many a cheaper alternative.”
Domaine Leduc-Frouin, Sousigne, 48540 Martigne-Briand