By Paul Caputo

Saumur Champigny is one of the Loire Valley’s most exciting red wine appellations. Not long after being established as an AOC in 1959 the wines began to gain popularity throughout France and forty-plus years of commercial success left the village with an established wine scene and a fabulous reputation.

Alongside the commune of Saumur, eight other villages form part of the growing area: Chacé, Dampierre-sur-Loire, Montsoreau, Parnay, Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg, Saumur, Souzay-Champigny, Turquant and Varrains. About 130 growers produce wine here.

Furthest south is Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg where much of the fruit comes from. The vineyards here are planted in limestone rather than the clay sites closer to the river.