Its the big event of the Saumur Champigny calendar each year and a must if you are a local and a fan of red wine in general (its a red wine appellation only) but the prestigious appellation in particular. The event is always well attended each year and since 2009 it has been held over two days as the one day previously could not cope with the number of people attending in that one day.
I remember that event as our first in 2008 before the two day format . We went with friends Peter and Maggi (Jude Law’s parents) and Margaret and Michael who live in this part of the world near Saumur where the event is held of course. We met up with other friends and occupied a big long table (the Grand Tablee) and enjoyed a longer evening well into the night drinking the special cuvvee of Saumur Champigny made specially for the event from grapes supplied by each of the Saumur Champigny syndicate members of the appellation. The wine house of Langois-Chateau makes the cuvee for the event each year.
That year of the one day event was big big big and the food served up for the revellers took rather a long time to deliver. It was this problem that decided the two day event. Much less traumatic.
The event was organised around a ticketing system that gave each person a strip of tear off parts each of which allowed you to have a particular part of the night’s menu, from starter of local Champignon de Paris, a chacuterie, a main of rillette, and cheese, bread, and a dessert of raspberry mousse. You also got a glass which allowed access to the various stations around the event where your glass was filled up with the special cuvee. So this year it is 2010 vintage, and other vintages of 2008, 2007 and 2005 when the wine had not been finished.
The event takes placed in the Place de Republic outside the Hotel deVille (Town Hall) of Saumur right beside the Loire. It really is a magic experience and with the buss of the crowds and the entertainment including live music it should not be missed. So in the unlikely event you are not far from Saumur pop along and buy a glass so you can taste the wine. You don’t have to worry about the food as the many bistros, cafe, restaurants etc next to the event will satisfy your appetite.
Bon appetite and cheers.