Winery of the Month Series: Domaine Arnaud Lambert
The Loire Valley might be France’s most exciting wine region just because you always feel like there’s more to find, more unique pockets of vignerons doing something that you’ve never seen before. This month we take you to Saumur and Saumur Champigny in Anjou to explore the truly stunning wines of Arnaud Lambert. Smack dab in the center of the Loire Valley you’ll find him quietly leading a revolution in style and quality for the area’s Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. This man has been responsible for some of the best Cabernet Franc ever vinified, wines that could stand up against even the great Clos Rougeard, the singular Grand Cru of Loire Cabernet Franc. Arnaud’s focus is on producing wines with great typicity, wines that express the specific terroir that they come from which is why he focuses on single vineyard bottlings.
Experiencing the wines of Mr. Lambert is somewhat of a revelation, especially when you get to taste them all side by side. Last year we were lucky enough to attend a private lunch hosted by the man himself and Peter Wasserman of the legendary importer Becky Wasserman & Co. where we got to taste his entire line side by side. The wines, like Arnaud, are understated, soft spoken, and humble. It is rare to find wines like his, wines so transparent that you can’t detect the hand of the winemaker. Each plot, weather from the clay rich soils of Breze or the limestone laden soils of Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg, is expressed so brilliantly by the wines it’s truly a sight to behold.
But it hasn’t always been this way. For many generations the wines of Saumur and Saumur Champigny were thought to be worse or at least lesser to their more famous Franc and Chenin producing neighbors. With wine regions with lots of international fame like Savenniers to the east and Vouvray and Chinon to the west, it was hard for the producers here to develop a reputation for quality. Roughly 70% of the vineyard in Breze and Saint Cyr, where Arnaud’s vineyards are, are controlled by Cooperatives which are on a trend of mass-producing cremants and bulk wine. Unremarkable stuff, but Arnaud is a child of this place, his father Yves once had a Domaine here, plus he had made wines at the storied Chateau Breze and he’d experienced the wines of Clos Rougeard so he knew the potential of these vineyards. Why then couldn’t he elevate his father’s domaine? After the unexpected death of his father, Arnaud acquired the family domaine, converted it to organics, and quickly started to produce wines that rival the best from Breze and Rougeard. It’s incredible to think that Mr. Lambert's project is only 10 years old! There is so much more potential for his wines and we’re excited to get to show them to you.
We’ll be offering the entire line from Mr. Lambert for 10% for the entire month of March as part of our Winery of the Month Series so you’ll be able to experience his inspiring wines at the best possible price.
Domaine Arnaud Lambert Saumur Blanc Clos de Midi