Wines from the Saumur were already well-known and appreciated in the Middle Ages. When trade with Holland developed in the 18th Century, the wine-growing area made a name for itself overseas too.
Since the 15th Century, it had been known that wines from the Saumur which were bottled in the spring tended to develop a sparkle when the weather got warmer. At that time, the reason for this was not understood, and the wine was nicknamed "the devil's wine". In the 19th Century, wine-growers hit upon the idea of applying the traditional method to wines from the Saumur.
The Saumur-denomination wine-growing area comprises 1500 hectares divided into 93 communities located to the south of Saumur. Here, white wines are produced following age-old traditions. The most important grape varieties are Chenin and Cabernet Franc. The latter, originally from Bordeaux, was introduced in the year 990 by Breton seafarers.
The house of Gratien & Meyer lies near Saumur in the heart of the "white" Anjou region. The chalky soil there is known locally as "pierre de tuffeau" (tuffeau limestone).
Today, the quality of our unusual soil helps us to produce a large number of A.O.C. wines. The River Loire plays a balancing role in this environment, giving the region the famous mild Angevin climate celebrated by poets like Ronsard and du Bellay.
The hillsides store the warmth of the sun and the cool nights provide the vines with the moisture they need. The early spring and mild autumn promote the growth of the "noble rot" which is needed for the production of fortified wines.
Gratien & Meyer wines elevate to new heights the traditional grape varieties of the Loire Valley, particularly Chenin Blanc (also known as Pineau de la Loire) and Cabernet Franc, which we sometimes combine with Chardonnay.