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The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Entry of the Day


Situated on the left bank of the Loire Valley between Angers and Tours, Saumur is a historic city dominated by one of the most famous castles in France. The castle, like many of the great Châteaux of the Loire Valley, was built with the same tuffeau limestone that underlies the vineyards of the region. Excavations left from building castles and palaces resulted in a network of hundreds of miles of underground tunnels, which local vintners have taken advantage of as ready-made wine cellars! Perhaps most famous for its sparkling wines, Saumur also produces excellent still wines.  Chenin Blanc plays the leading role among the white varietals; Cabernet Franc is the primary grape for the red and rosé wines of this region, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Pineau d'Aunis often play minor blending roles as well.