2021 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc "Les Perrières"
2021 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc "Les Perrières"

2021 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc "Les Perrières"

Loire Valley, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

2021 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc "Les Perrières"

As most astute Burgundy fans know, if you want a wine that is fully drenched in minerality then you look far and wide for vineyards named “Les Perrières.” This translates to “the stones” and it usually refers to sites that have little to no topsoil over bedrocks of pure limestone. What’s true in Burgundy is also true in the Loire Valley, and indeed the Chenin Blanc that über talented winemaker Arnaud Lambert crafts from his “Perrières” vineyard is perhaps even more draped in saline, crushed rock and chalk-like minerals then most of the Côte de Beaune. This is a glorious showboat of ethereal texture and laser-like precision. Pair it with its Cabernet sibling (to the left) and you will have wines that can pair with almost anything that you want to put on the table. Indeed, if we were stuck on a desert island with just these two wines we’d be just fine!

Domaine Arnaud Lambert is the result of a merger, and some fortunate timing, about 15 years ago. Arnaud was already working alongside his father at their family estate, Domaine Saint-Just, when they were presented with the opportunity to acquire 20 hectares of vines from the Château Brézé, an historic property that had fallen into a bit of disrepair. This was 2009, just before the hill of Brézé became a destination for wine geeks the world over looking for a pilgrimage to the famous, and soon to be unicorn-like, estate of Clos Rougeard. Now armed with a truly enviable arsenal of some of Saumur’s very best vineyards, Yves and Arnaud were ready to make a big splash on the wine scene of France. But sadly, Yves succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer in 2011 and so his son was left to forge ahead without him.

Yves had already lit a fire in Arnaud of becoming more natural in the vines and the cellar, and so he set about converting the entire estate into organic farming, reaching full certification a few years ago. He also eliminated all additions and subtractions, with the exception of sulfur which he uses very sparingly and only where necessary. The same is true for oak: This ancient vessel is perfect for adding texture and complexity to the right wines, but can also mask the nuances of terroir, so Arnaud uses very little new oak anymore, and most cuvées see none.

“Les Perrières” sits on a unique little parcel of the Saint-Cyr-En-Bourg hill of Saumur, where there is a scant topsoil of pure sand and limestone pebbles over a solid bedrock of tuffeau limestone. The complete lack of clay or other soil leads to a wine of pure mineral expression. Arnaud uses only the first presses of the juice (the rest goes into the appellation cuvées) and ferments it gently and slowly in used foudre and barrique. Malolactic fermentation is not blocked, but occurs naturally only about 20% of the time. Serve “Les Perrières” in a Burgundy stem, much like you would a Grand Cru Chablis, at a cool 50-55 degrees. The fruit here is lean and crisp, zero tropicality, and the aromatics are overtly citrus forward, with Key lime and Meyer lemon taking the lead, followed by flinty, smoky notes and hints of white pepper. It’s a perfect wine for anything from the seafood raw bar, and for us West Coasters it is finally Dungeness crab season, so I couldn’t resist the recipe below. Enjoy!

2021 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc "Les Perrières"

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