The town of Saumur 'La Perle d'Anjou' makes a great wine-buying pit stop as the surrounding vineyards produce versatile and affordable red and white wines as well as some commendable fizz. With chalky soils on the same latitude as Champagne, the region is a favourable location for the production of dry, sparkling wines. There are numerous purveyors of good quality bottle-fermented Saumur mousseux but few better than the Cave de Saumur co-operative in Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg. Their ultra-reliable clean, apple-scented bottling has a fine mousse and a long, elegant finish. They also make an excellent coral-pink, dry, sparkling Crémant de Loire rosé, from Cabernet Franc, that is perfect for picnics and summer celebrations. The Cave also supply our hugely popular still white Saumur made from Chenin Blanc and liveried in our distinctive blue 'Charles de Gaulle' label. It has attractive orchard fruit aromas and flavours with minerally undertones. A red stablemate, from pure Cabernet Franc, is also a failsafe crowd-pleaser with wonderful red berry aromas and a sapid savoury palate whose ripe tannins respond well to light chilling.
In the hamlet of Chaintres, just east of Saumur, our old friends the Fillitreau family enjoy a reputation for producing top quality red wines from mature Cabernet Franc rootstock. Their 'Château Fouquet' Saumur is certified as organic and displays a fine concentration of briary fruit flavours over ripe tannins.