Releases from Bouvet-Ladubay, 2012

After last month’s Bollinger tasting, which touched – rather tangentially, admittedly – on one of Saumur’s leading sparkling wine houses Langlois-Chateau, it perhaps seems only fair to turn the spotlight the other way for a short moment to one of its leading contenders, in this case Bouvet-Ladubay. Here I taste three of this house’s latest releases featuring the 2008 and 2009 vintages, including one cuvée with celebrity credentials.


I kicked off with the Saumur Brut Saphir 2009, probably as good a starting point as any for entering the world of single-vintage cuvées from Bouvet-Ladubay, beyond the value Mademoiselle range intended for supermarket shelves which has a track record of throwing up some remarkably good bottles considering the price point. The Saphir is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, the fruit pressed at the various domaines contracted to Bouvet-Ladubay before the resulting juice is then delivered to the cellars in Ste-Hilaire-Ste-Florent. The handling thereafter is fairly standard, with thermo-regulated fermentation in stainless steel cuves, cold stabilisation and then second fermentation in bottle as per the méthode traditionnelle. I have always found it to give a fairly classic interpretation of what a Saumur should be, with a vibrant suck-a-pebble character on the palate. Even in a vintage such as 2009, where there was no doubt some capacity to produce a much richer wine, it maintains this very typical feel.

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