There are no two ways about it. The review for this domain in Bettane & Desseauve’s 2019 guide begins with the words ‘Arnaud Lambert is one of the Loire’s most talented wine makers’. Such bold and high acclaim from a reputed source such as this means we could really just stop here. Take their word for it. But there’s still plenty more to be said about the story of this excellent domain.
A true nature lover, Arnaud Lambert manages his domain using methods which are extremely respectful of nature. So, he converted his domain to organic agriculture and subsequently to biodynamic agriculture. Arnaud Lambert inherited this domain from his father Yves who created it in 1996. He returned to the domain at the age of 47 to learn the art of wine making and take up the reins.
As it stands, Domaine Arnaud Lambert is the result of having combined the family domain Saint Just with Château de Brézé. Arnaud’s father, Yves Lambert, created the domain in 1996, striving from the very beginning to make fine wine. In 2005, his son decided on a major career move, returning to the family domain to learn all about making wine, eventually taking over the running of the estate. “A wine maker isn’t born like that, you find an interest, you return to the earth via family ties, and then as the years go on you develop a sensitivity to it. The passion is there when a taste for quality and precision in translating the terroir becomes your only objective. This vocation becomes your whole world, only the endeavour counts.” At the time, Arnaud’s main goal was to craft his wines so that they mirror the different terroirs of Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg, both in red and white varieties.
This producer is committed to the idea that proximity between the vines and their surrounding environment leads to pure fruit for the finest wines. In 2009, Arnaud decided to start following organic methods, obtaining official certification 2012. Naturally, this was followed up with a transition to biodynamics, a process that started in 2018. Truly passionate about his vocation, an irreproachable precision is applied throughout the process. As well as the wise advice of his father, Arnaud has also taken guidance from Charly Foucault, part of Clos Rougeard’s 8th generation of winemakers. This is a producer in good company.
The two varietals typical of the Loire are grown at the domain: Cabernet Franc for the reds and Chenin for the whites. Of their 50 hectares of vines, 15 are at Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg and another 15 in Brézé, one of the Saumur region’s most renowned appellations. The red grape vines were planted on average 40 years ago, brining a natural complexity to the plants which is then brought out through the fine work of the domain and its team. The cuvées make up an incredible range, representing many lieux-dits, each more delectable than the last! Les Perrières, Clos du Midi, Clos Mazurique, Clos de l’Etoile…which one will you fall in love with? The wines are made parcel-by-parcel, following the tradition seen in Burgundy. Also note that the domain produces some lovely sparkling wines, including a delicious crémant made of 90% Chenin and 10% Chardonnay. In the winery, most of the vinification takes place with no added sulphur, and each cuvée is developed according to its specific character, with some vinified in concrete, some in stainless steel, and yet others in oak casks. The reds can be aged for up to 24 months, which is the case for the Clos de l’Etoile cuvée.
What do the guides say?
Among myriad lieux-dits cuvées emerge some finely stylised wines. The reds are contemporary interpretations of Cabernet Franc, properly extracted to offer the gentle freshness of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. The whites are delightful and well made, though they could be more concentrated.
Arnaud Lambert is one of the Loire’s most talented wine makers. The whole range has energy and often emerges as some of the finest in Saumur. The white cuvées are refined and extremely delicate, and the Chenins are pleasant in their youth, a feature rare enough to be notable here. The red are just as good. A go-to signature with very good price to quality ratios, and it is brushing a fourth star…To discover with haste!