2021 Domaine Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc “St. Cyr en Bourg” Loire Valley, France.
As mentioned, the Domaine Arnaud Lambert, based in Saint Cyr en Bourg – Brézé, is making some of the finest Chenin Blancs in the region and the latest Saumur Blanc St. Cyr en Bourg bottling is a ravishing effort with loads of energy, mineral tones and beautiful fruit detail with tart peach, citrus and quince coming through on the bone dry and crisp medium bodied palate. This vintage is especially lively and electric in the mouth and reveals delicate unsweetened honeycomb and herbs with subtle aromatics and tons of wet chalky stone and a steely framework. This St. Cyr en Bourg cuvée is 100% Chenin grown in two main sections of vines that include an upper portion that has calcareous sandy soils and a lower plot that has a higher percentage of clay, along with the classic tuffeau limestone that plays a huge part in the terroir driven character here, with both parts providing a nice ying and yang effect that gives an excellent overall balance and complexity. Arnaud uses a combination of concrete, stainless and various sized wood barrels to make his different offerings and in this case mostly stainless was employed, but he chose to use some lees stirring (Batonage) to give the desired textural quality and elegance to this exceptional white wine. This St. Cyr en Bourg Saumur Blanc will be sublime with soft goat cheeses and seafood dishes and it’s a stunning value, in particular against wines of this quality.
As noted in my prior reviews, Arnaud Lambert, who began as part of a father and son team with his dad Yves, made a name for himself when he took over at the historic estate of the Château de Brézé, one of France’s great properties and one that the French royals, as noted by the winery, used to exchange wines of Brézé annually for Château d’Yquem Sauternes. I have had a few outstanding wines from Château de Brézé over the years, so it was exciting to see Lambert’s personal offerings and get insight to his direction as a vigneron. With his own label now gaining notoriety Lambert is push the appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny to invest in quality and focus on individual terroirs and lieu-dit sites, as he does, with the goal being to re-discover the regions premier vineyards and exploit its full potential through organic viticulture. The less-is-more, precise winemaking and attention to detail is what Arnaud does in his cellar and for this wine, farmed all biodynamic, he chose to do a full whole cluster, 100% stems, direct press to mainly stainless steel tank, with about 10% going into old French barrels for an all natural yeast fermentation with up to 30% malo and only a light filtration to capture all of the terroir nuances here. I loved the extra concentration of the 2020s by Lambert, especially the Brézé bottling, but the purity and precision in these pale gold and straw hued 2021s is something extraordinary and I highly recommend them too, look for this label when shopping for Chenin Blanc.
($27 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive