Old poster advertising the health benefits of Ackerman’s “Royal” Saumur Brut for combatting gout.
La Maison Ackerman, established in 1811, with its 7 kms of caves carved in the tuffeau, is the Loire’s oldest sparkling wine producer and their home is in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent, on the outskirts of Saumur, in rue Léopold Palustre. In July 2009 Ackerman Rémy Pannier, the leading producer of sparkling Saumur wines of the Loire Valley bought Ackerman but used the name themselves. Along with other colleagues in tourisme, we received an invitation to the inauguration of the 2014
At chez Ackerman in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent, just outside Saumur the team have created a mystical, unworldly theme in one of their caves.
‘New Scenography Tourist Circuit’ deep in the caves! This changes every year and so we were curious as to how different this was going to be compared to last year. We found two new galleries had been opened to extend the usual visit. The inspiration for their new works is the Jules Verne classic ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Here called the journey to the centre of a “bubble”! This year’s artists are sensationally imaginative and one creator is an expert in shaping glass thereby creating many different shapes of bottles, all reflecting in exceptional colours of light. The display of this brilliant colour and art is mixed with sails exhibited in different colours and I have to mention the large jelly fish playfully hanging from the ceiling blowing in a little soft breeze! Quite extraordinary! Oh and then there is a huge Spider Man racing around the tuffeau walls looking for some action!
As well as the New Scenography Circuit the visit is combined with uncovering the history of Jean-Baptiste Ackerman, the pioneer behind the house of Ackerman! As you walk through the cellars you see interesting old vintages of wonderful old sweet wines such as 1900 Coteaux du Layon as well as bottles of Vouvray dating back to 1945 and 1947. There are pieces of ancient wine machinery exhibited with descriptions of how they were used, reminding us of how wine production has dramatically changed and all this interspersed with interactive displays of black glasses to test senses of smell against mesmerizing aromas, so you can see how clever your nose is! In the last cave there is a ‘boules court’ and table games from five continents – amusing for both children and adults to play for an hour or so! It’s easy to understand why a house established over two hundred years ago is still thriving today. It’s run by an innovative and very dynamic team of creative thinking people. At the end of the tour visitors enjoy wine tastings of the different appellations of the Loire Valley, starting with the Saumur Brut and Cremant de Loire.
“le Chef” in action preparing his pan fried Foie-Gras with raisons and port
Afterwards, we happily joined other guests at the Cocktail Party held on the lawned area at the front of the winery where there were lots of tables, colourful Ackerman parasols and chairs to rest weary feet! The gourmet cuisine, provided by les service traiteur’ Hotel Les Terrasses de Saumur’, was skilfully prepared, but the highlight was watching the’ Chef’ in action with his ‘pan-fried’ foie gras with raisons and port! He made it look so easy – that’s Chefs for you!
Well worth a mention is the winery is adapted to receive visitors of reduced mobility and has been awarded the label “Tourisme et Handicap” in fact it is the only winery in Saumur to have this award. They have received a second award too for ‘’L’Accueil d’Excellence des Caves Touristiques du Vignoble de Loire” (excellent welcome). Parking is easy it’s just across the road.
A visit is recommended if you are staying in or around Saumur or …. better still at our holiday gites at Le Clos des Guyons! We offer all our guests a FREE PASS to Ackerman’s wine tours and tastings during their stay, plus a generous discount on any purchases made ! There are lovely gift ideas in their boutique to take home too!
Preparing the “Garden Party” before the guests have finished their tour.
We wish all the Ackerman team a great 2014 season!
Why not visit the new Scenography Tour? – We tell all our guests you won’t be disappointed because this winery offers great fun for all ages in a magical setting.
Sheila and Brian
Le Clos des Guyons. Two quality self-catering holiday gites in the Loire Valley ‘Le Sauvginon’ (sleeps 4-6) and ‘Le Chenin’ (sleeps 2-3) in a former winemakers property with ancient wine chais and caves.
Take a look at our new website www.closdesguyons.com. and see if we can tempt you to discover the Loire Valley, a great holiday destination with its royal river, pretty villages and host of tourist attractions – there”s something for everybody! We also offer Loire Wine Tours for lovers of wine (including our popular ‘One-Day Immersion in Wine’ with or without accommodation).
Each grape used at Ackerman has an appropriate “smelling machine” as Brian calls them. You stick your nose in each glass and are rewarded with a typical flavour. Here, for Chenin Blanc; lemon, apples, pears, honey etc.
Situated in the pretty wine village of Le Puy Notre Dame, surrounded by vines and little rues boasting an imposing Collegiale church built in 1154 at the request of Aliénor d’Aquitaine and on the route Saint Jacques de Compostelle. Le Puy Notre Dame is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites, a village ‘typique de vignerons’ with 60 vigneron families working 1500 hectares of vines. It’s classed ‘Village de Charme’, and ‘Petite Cité de Caracteré’. A superb region, rich in viticultural heritage, architecture, centuries of history and it’s definitely no secret that Brian and I are both very passionate about its charm and enjoy sharing this with our guests who wish to experience our home and gites, including an aperitif of refreshing Saumur Sparkling Brut on arrival!!