Arnaud Lambert (Photo by Michel Joly)

Arnaud Lambert - A Quiet Storm in Saumur

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I spent rather a while trying to think up something funny and smartalecky with which to start this offer. I found myself simply staring at the screen for the better part of forty minutes, after which I told myself to simply talk about the wines and hope that my enthusiasm proves a sufficient draw. Because make no mistake - I am a huge fan of Arnaud Lambert and his magnificent Loire wines. As a restaurant wine director, these were omnipresent on my various lists. After all, Chenin Blanc is famously food-friendly, with its combination of high acidity, rich texture and flavors that seem to shift constantly, and Loire wines remain incredible value.

Arnaud Lambert's father Yves began farming and making wine in 1996, under the banner of Domaine Saint-Just. Arnaud joined his father in 2005 and they began the conversion to organic farming in 2009, with certification arriving in 2012. Today, Arnaud farms roughly forty hectares split between the communes of Brézé and Saint Cyr, both of which lie within the Saumur appellation. For the most part, Saumur and Saumur-Champigny sit atop a plateau which rises from the banks of the Loire. The vines are planted in soils of deep limestone and the cellars dug right into the rock beneath the vines. The resulting wines are generally among the brightest expressions of Chenin, yellow fruit and delicate earthiness juxtaposed against acidity that gleams like platinum.

The three wines on offer today come from three parcels just over three kilometers apart and from three different vintages. Clos du Midi sits just to the south and east of Brézé. The vines are planted in 1985 in silt and clay over limestone. This is the infamous 2021 vintage, which was clobbered by frost here and across France. But the wine that made it is a brilliant value - all pear and juicy yellow plum, with little hints of fresh porcini and cool stoniness. The price here is remarkable for wine of this quality, which is delicious now and will certainly improve with a few years in the cellar.

The 2019 Clos David lies on the far side of Brézé toward the Loire. The vines here are just shy of sixty years old, planted in soils that more or less resemble those of Clos du Midi. But as one would expect, there is more density here and more tension. There is also a lovely spice note that reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum (let me be clear, I mean this in the most complimentary way I can muster!)

Lastly, we have the 2018 Coulée de Saint-Cyr, from another 2 kilometers north and west. The vines here are seventy years old and in this solar vintage, the wine shows an extra degree of power and richness. The yellow tree fruit is here and so is the spice but there is a beautiful fennel note in the mix. I found myself being reminded of a perfect glass of pastis. This is fantastic wine.

It is impossible to go wrong with these three Saumurs today. Each one is a great example of whichever category you are looking to explore, not to mention that these are fantastic Autumn whites that will be great as Thanksgiving rolls around (I'm always thinking about a head start on my favorite eating holiday).   But if you have the cellar space try them all, as they will doubtless get better over the next five to ten years.

 

Sam Ehrlich

 

**THIS IS A PRE-ARRIVAL OFFER. WINES WILL BE IN STOCK NEXT WEEK**

Lambert, Arnaud 2019 Saumur Clos David

The 2019 Clos David lies on the far side of Brézé toward the Loire. The vines here are just shy of sixty years old, planted in soils that more or less resemble those of Clos du Midi. But as one would expect, there is more density here and more tension. There is also a lovely spice note that reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum (let me be clear, I mean this in the most complimentary way I can muster!)

  • white
  • 14 in stock
  • $46.99

  • Organic
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Lambert, Arnaud 2021 Saumur Clos Du Midi

Clos du Midi sits just to the south and east of Brézé, the vines planted in 1985 in silt and clay over limestone. This is the infamous 2021 vintage, which was clobbered by frost here and across France. But the wine that made it is a brilliant value - all pear and juicy yellow plum, with little hints of fresh porcini and cool stoniness. The price here is remarkable for wine of this quality, which is delicious now and will certainly improve with a few years in the cellar.

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic

Lambert, Arnaud 2018 Saumur Coulée de Saint-Cyr

The vines here are seventy years old and in this solar vintage, the wine shows an extra degree of power and richness. The yellow tree fruit is here and so is the spice but there is a beautiful fennel note in the mix and I found myself being reminded of a perfect glass of pastis. This is fantastic wine.

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic