Monday, November 6, 2023

How Do You Pronounce Saumur Champigny?

The Loire Valley is known in some circles as the "Garden of France" The beautiful area has four distinct wine regions: Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, and Touraine. Each region has its own grapes, appellations and styles. Along the banks of the Loire river are more than 3,000 wineries, more than 103,000 acres of vineyards, 33 appellations of origin and 1 protected geographical indication.

French wine appellations have a reputation for being difficult to pronounce, especially for beginners who don’t happen to be French. But even wine lovers with a long Gallic history can have trouble handling the names of the Loire. 

That is why Loire Valley Wines has teamed up with Katie Melchior (also known as @FrenchWineTutor) to create an audio guide to 10 appellations in the Loire Valley.

Just download this infographic map, open in Adobe Acrobat and click the audio icons to hear French pronunciations of 10 appellations on the Loire Valley map, read by Katie herself.

Here's an example of a region that many people might find difficult to pronounce: Saumur Champigny. I could tell you it is spoken like saw-MYUR sham-pin-YEE, but it's a lot more fun to hear Katie say it.

The 2018 Domaine Filliatreau (fee-illa-TRO) Vieilles Vignes comes from Saumur Champigny, where the Filliatreau family has been making wine for generations. The Cabernet Franc grapes for this wine came from vines which are 50 to 100 years old. The wine was vinified in stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels and aged in those tanks for one year. Alcohol clocks in at 14.5% abv and the wine's retail price averages about $28 online.

This Cabernet Franc wine is dark in color, as well as in smell and taste. The aromas are in the red fruit area, but a bit on the dark side. Cherry, black cherry, raspberry and black pepper come forth persistently. On the palate, the darkness continues. Cherry and cassis are joined by herbs and spices and a firm tannic structure. This is a wine that was made to pair with lamb, or so it seems, anyway. By the way, it was vinified and aged completely in stainless steel. 

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