At the start of the 19th century , a young Flemish man, Jean-Baptiste Ackerman, was well aware of the reputation of the wines from the Val de Loire. In 1810 this rich banker’s son left Antwerp and arrived in Champagne where he explored the hills and valleys of this chalky region and began to learn all the secrets of the famous drink concocted in the 17th century by the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon.
The following year, armed with his knowledge, he left for the Val de Loire and arrived in Saumur on horseback. At the time the region was riddled with 1,000 kilometres of underground galleries. He decided to acquire about 7 kilometres of the finest, some of them 8 metres wide and 5 metres high and “able to take more than six thousand barrels of wine”.
The young man had noticed that in these ancient, cool limestone quarries the white wines of the region had a tendency to sparkle naturally and that the caves along the banks of the Loire combined the optimum conditions to produce Saumur Brut. And so he became the founder in Saumur of the “méthode traditionnelle”. For forty years he was the only producer of this Val de Loire wine with fine bubbles. As soon as he arrived in the Saumur area he had got to know the daughter of a rich banker – Mademoiselle Laurance – and shortly afterwards he married her. Thus was born the Maison Ackerman Laurance.
In 1838 the tasting committee, examining the wines presented at the Angers Industrial Exhibition, enthused about the quality of the wines produced by Jean Ackerman, mentioning “their clarity, their white, lively, sparkling foam”.
Here are a list of their wines: