Paris, France — These are fine, crisp sparkling wines, the sparkling wines of Saumur. The fresh taste reposes on the Chenin blanc grape variety used in the fashioning of the sparkling wine complemented by Chardonnay or Sauvignon. The sparkling Saumurs are among the most prestigious sparkling wines in France and one of the oldest. Saumur can trace its bubbling bottles back to 1830 and still today these sparkling wines are considered to be celebrated, refined and distinguished. They are produced according to the traditional Champenois method with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. The wines of Saumur are naturally light and take easily to becoming sparkling while the cellars of the region are deep and carved into the native chalk, similar to the cellars found in Champagne. Our sparkling Saumur of the day is from the house of Bouvet Ladubay, founded in 1851 by Etienne Bouvet and Célestine Ladubay. Their sparkling wine would soon travel the world from the Imperial Court of Brazil to the British Parliament. It remained in the same family until the 1930s after which the Monmousseau family purchased it and further enhanced it until the 1970s. After being owned by larger houses, the Monmousseau family purchased it once again in 2015 and it remains in the family to this day, with Juliette Monmousseau at the helm.
The house’s Saumur brut is its specialty. This blanc de blancs is the oldest Designated Label of Origin wine of Saumur, dating back to 1957. The house produces five sparkling Saumurs including the Saumur Brut Millésimé Cuvée Instinct and the Saumur Brut Zéro Millésimé both of which are 80% Chenin blanc and 20% Chardonnay. We enjoyed the oak-barrel aged Zéro Millésimé at The Gourmet Gazette. Dry, crisp and refined, this was clearly a special treat which we paired accordingly with regional specialties. We chose to taste this sparkling Saumur with a selection of regional specialties from Anjou and Touraine. Although Saumurs are classified as wines of Anjou, the Touraine region rubs shoulders with it and the vineyards of Saumur are considered by the Larousse des Vins to be a prolongation of Touraine as well. Eel from the Loire River is a specialty in Anjou served up in chunks sautéed in butter, garlic and parsley in eateries on the banks of the mighty river. We opted for smoked eel which proved to be a delightful and unctuous alternative to smoked salmon. Meanwhile pork rillettes made from local pork are shredded, slow cooked, rich and preserved in, well, fat to be frank and are a local specialty from Anjou which we served cold on very thinly sliced baguette bread. And a delightful creamy and tangy goat cheese from the Touraine also proved to be a worthy companion to our sparkling Saumur Bouvet Ladubay. But we also imagined it could perfectly accompany a seafood platter or grilled fish. ©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
Categories: Gourmet Fare