2021 Domaine Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Rouge ‘Clos Mazurique’ Monopole, Brézé, Loire Valley, France.
The brilliantly pure, dark ruby red and medium bodied Clos Mazurique by Arnaud Lambert is 100% Cabernet Franc that is vinified using carefully sorted and completely de-stemmed grapes in concrete tanks with a short maceration, starting with 2 punch-downs a day for the first few days then one for a week and then after fermentation the wine is racked and aged in concrete exclusively for about 8 months. Lambert’s exceptional entry level bottling shows off bright blackberry, plum, currant and wild cherry fruits, a light earthiness, juicy acidity, a hint of tapenade, green herbs and spice along with a fresh chalky element, framboise and lingering floral notes. As this wine opens, there’s no doubt about its varietal character, origins and terroir, it is a highly engaging and lovely example of Loire Franc that is fabulously priced and joyously quaffable, while still being serious and nicely structured. Coming from organic vines on the hill of Brézé with classic tuffeau limestone bedrock, with a topsoil composition of sedimentary and alluvial deposits that includes, as Lambert notes, varying levels of clay and sand, all of which along with the dry Continental climate with the rain shadow effect of the Massif Armorican, gives this wine its terroir distinction and balance.

The Domaine Arnaud Lambert based in Saint Cyr en Bourg – Brézé is making some of the finest Chenin Blancs in the region, but his Cab Francs are very desirable as well, as this one shows. Arnaud Lambert, as mentioned in my prior reviews, 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. I understand that Lambert is pushing the appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny to invest in quality and focus on individual terroirs and lieu-dit sites, as he does, like in this wine. The goal is to re-discover the regions premier vineyards and exploit its full potential through organic viticulture and less-is-more, precise winemaking, which he himself adheres to. Brézé is a unique site due to its relatively high elevation and Tuffeau, the chalky limestone soils here that gives these wines, white and red their distinct stony, saline rich and oyster shell character. This latest set of offerings from Arnaud Lambert, especially the Brézé wines are must haves for Loire fans, and those who want a big bang for the buck, in particular this one and the Clos De Midi Saumur Blanc.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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