Xavier used to run a restaurant – a bar-à-vins in Paris – before deciding about four years ago that it was time to have a more relaxed life away from the capital. In addition to their chambres d’hôtes. France and Xavier, who are passionate about wine, have two hectares of Cabernet Franc and 36 ares of Chenin Blanc. Xavier is starting to pick some of the Chenin on Saturday for their méthode ancestrale petillante. For the still red and white wines he is waiting for the grapes to ripen further and for the acidity levels to drop.
We had the salade gourmande with foie gras and écrevisses and oeufs en cocotte followed by a ballotin of chicken and a tender entrecôte. As we were staying at Ami Chenin we felt we ought to try their rich, slightly honeyed 2005 Ami Chenin Saumur Blanc with a touch of minerality in the finish. Quite expensive at €38 but good to try, especially as the production is tiny and the Amats don’t have any left. We followed this with 1999 Le Clos Moleton Domaine Saint-Just from Yves Lambert. A Loire Châteauneuf-du-Pape – turning bricky with rich curranty, raisiny fruit, this probably needs to be drunk fairly soon. The label says 13% alc but it seems higher than that. Olivier kindly pulled out the 2006 Clos Moleton for us to try – obviously fresher and can be drunk now but will improve with another year or two in bottle.
Ami Chenin, 37 rue de Beaulieu, 49400 Saumur
Tel: 02 41 38 13 17, mobile: 06 68 05 57 98
Le Pot de Lapin, Les Ardilliers, 35-37 Rue Rabelais, 49400 Saumur
Tel: 02 41 67 12 86
The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays