Arnaud Lambert 2012 Clos de la Rue Saumur Blanc, Loire Valley, France (Château de Bréze)
(Formerly known as Château de Bréze)
While Arnaud’s family hails from the Loire, he is the first in his lineage to produce wine under the family’s name. He farms organically (certified!) on the hill of Brézé, a unique elevated terroir predominantly planted on tuffeau soils, with a mix of clay, over hard limestone bedrock. He strives to showcase the terroir of each vineyard he farms, which is why he creates so many different bottlings of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
Brézé is a unique site due to its relatively high elevation and eminently nuanced geological profile. The significant presence of tuffeau, (a porous, chalky limestone also used in the construction of much of the Loire’s Renaissance architecture) results in finely mineral Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Clay and sand also lend themselves to the diversity of the terroirs, giving body to the reds and richness to the whites.
Clos de la Rue
Size: 2 ha (4.94 ac)
- Variety: Chenin Blanc
- Farming: Organic, Certified
- Vine Age: 35 years average (25% old vines planted around 1970; 75% young vines planted around 1990-1995)
- Terroir: Tuffeau limestone bedrock (calcium carbonate rock with a small proportion of sand) with a topsoil mix of tuffeau rock, clay, sand, and alluvial depositions. The topsoil is sandy limestone on top for around 25 centimeters, then clay for another 10 centimeters, and finally the tuffeau limestone bedrock. The clay and warmth of the vineyard (within the context of this very cold commune) make this wine’s dimensions more pronounced than many other whites grown from this hill. South/Southwest aspect, midslope, 60-90m asl.
- Vinification: Whole cluster pressed for 4.5 hours. Juice is selected with the first 25% of the press juice and the last 30 minutes of the press juice declassified and blended into the entry-level appellation wines. Fermentation is natural unless absolutely necessary to compromise with a pied de cuve (grape juice already fermenting) due to very high alcohol potential. Vinified in 20% new and 80% old (1-5-year-old) French oak barrels. Max fermentation temperature 20°C during the 3-4 week fermentation. Racked after fermentation. Malolactic rarely happens and accounts for 20% maximum depending on the year. Batonnage (stirring of the lees) is made toward the end of the primary fermentation and for some months after the wine is dry to “open up the wines” and work against reduction. The first SO2 addition is made just before bottling.
- Aging: Aged in 20% new and 80% old (1 to 5-year-old) French oak barrels for 24 months, followed by 6 months in stainless steel before bottling.