Since its founders harvested their first grapes more than a hundred years ago, Langlois-Chateau has been producing beautiful Crémants de Loire. Find out how one family persevered through loss, war and hard work to bring the beautiful rosé that features in this month’s Bubble Box.
The story of Langlois-Chateau is, in its most essential form, a love story.
It all started when 19-year-old Jeanne Chateau, from beautiful Vendée, married 23-year old Edouard Langlois, a winemaker and cellarman from the Saumur region of the Loire Valley. They were eager to start a life together in the region, one of France’s best for the production of wine, and their passions stretched beyond one another – they were both passionate about sparkling wine, and so they set their minds to starting their own vineyard.
The land that would become Langlois-Chateau originally belonged to Maison Delandes, a winery founded in 1885. It was bought by Baron de Bodman, the owner the winery where Edouard worked. He was an ally of the Langlois-Chateau family, and in 1912 helped them set up a winery of their very own.
With de Bodman came cellars, land and the buildings this young couple needed to make their mark on sparkling wine. Meanwhile, Edouard and Jeanne brought their love of and unique knack for winemaking to the table. It was a perfect match, and right away the newly christened Langlois-Chateau – named for both partners in the business and marriage – found success in their sparkling speciality.
But their happiness wasn’t to last. Dark forces were at work in Europe, and within just a few years Edouard and Jeanne, along with their new business, would be swept up in the current of global events. Edouard was called to fight, and on the 30th of March 1915 – at the age of just 42 – he was killed in action.
It was a blow that would have crushed many families. But Jeanne, with the support of her family and her passion for sparkling wine, was somehow able to carry on. She took over management of Langlois-Chateau and, with help from her son-in-law Maurice and son Alexis, built Langlois-Chateau into one of the most serious crémant producers in the Loire Valley. After Jeanne’s death in 1949, the family carried on her and Edouard’s legacy proudly.
In 1973, internationally renowned Champagne house Bollinger took notice, and bought a controlling share in Langlois-Chateau. During the course of their ownership, they added significantly to the estate in Saumur and nearby Sancerre and augmented the existing Crémant de Loire appellation, already one of the most demanding in the world. Langlois-Chateau is now run independently, but the two teams still meet regularly to discuss new techniques, and Michele Villedey, a son-in-law of the Bollinger family, sits on the Langlois-Chateau board as non-executive president.
To this day, the Langlois-Chateau team remains one of the most respected producers of Crémant de Loire. Through their entire 130 years, Langlois-Chateau’s wines have embodied three ideals: ancestral know-how, passion and enthusiasm for fabulous Loire Valley wines.
The rosé in February’s Bubble Box is a perfect example of the wonderful wines that can result when all three of these ideals come together in one bottle. The first expression of this wine was made in 1885, and over the 130 years of its production it has been perfected.
With a light pink colour and elegant nose – see if you can pick out the scent of ripe red fruit – just pouring these beautiful bubbles is a full sensory experience. 100% Cabernet Franc, a grape usually used to make red wines, it has a softer edge than other sparkling wine and delightfully fresh fruitiness that pairs perfectly with raspberry tarts and strawberry trifles.
This rosé is just one of Langlois-Chateau’s wonderful crémants, and the winery also produces a number of still wines with a Saumur designation. From elegant white Chenin wines to summery still Cabernet Franc rosés and fruity reds, their wines are a wonderful walk through what this corner of the Loire has to offer for wine lovers.
With three gold and two silver medals, Langlois-Chateau continues to be the most awarded house for Concours National des Crémants, a national competition for French crémant producers. But even with all of the awards, success and recognition, there’s still one dream that the entire team would have shared with Edouard and Jeanne, those original devotees to fabulous fizz: to make the perfect sparkling wine!
Whether they ever achieve it – or already have – is an afterthought. Because when a rosé is this wonderful, we’re happy to be along for the ride!