From: Loire, France
Varietal: 90% Chenin Blanc, 10% Chardonnay
Taste: A superb crémant that over-delivers for the price, especially when considering the exhausting effort made to craft such an inexpensive sparkler from one of the Loire Valley’s greatest terroirs, Brézé. This now famous commune in Saumur is known for its laser-sharp Chenin Blanc wines, fresh, bright, and extremely age-worthy. The blend here is Chenin Blanc with the rest Chardonnay; the Chard is used to soften up, add body and round out the edges of the extremely tense character of the Chenin grown in the coldest sites of this already frigid hill. Golden yellow in color, light in body with aromas of fresh citrus, honey, and minerality. Crisp acidity, dry and elegant. Lively persistent bubbles.
Pairing: This Crémant de Loire Brut, with its crisp acidity, elegant dryness, and lively bubbles, is a versatile sparkling wine that pairs well with a wide range of dishes. It's particularly enjoyable with appetizers like oysters, smoked salmon (check out the recipe below!), and shrimp cocktails. The wine's bright citrus notes and minerality complement seafood dishes, while its honeyed undertones add depth to richer fare.
For a true taste of the Loire Valley, pair this delightful Crémant de Loire Brut with regional specialties such as Rillettes de Tours (a savory, slow-cooked pork dish), goat cheese from the area (like Crottin de Chavignol or Sainte-Maure de Touraine), or a classic Tarte Tatin (a caramelized apple tart). The wine's acidity and effervescence will cut through the richness of these dishes, providing a harmonious balance of flavors.
Vegetarian dishes that would complement the NV Arnaud Lambert Château de Brézé Crémant de Loire Brut include a creamy mushroom risotto, a goat cheese and caramelized onion tart, or a savory vegetable quiche. The wine's crisp acidity and minerality will enhance the earthy flavors of the mushrooms, while the bubbly texture will contrast beautifully with the creaminess of the goat cheese. For lighter fare, consider pairing with a vibrant salad featuring arugula, shaved fennel, and citrus segments, or a selection of artisanal cheeses and fresh fruit.
Smoked Salmon, Fennel and Herbed Mascarpone Tart
By Melissa Clark
About. 2017 marked an exciting transition for fans of Arnaud’s captivating wines when he united his cuvées from both Brézé (20ha) and Saint Cyr en Bourg (20ha) under one label: Domaine Arnaud Lambert. The Saint Cyr wines come from Domaine Saint-Just, which was founded by Arnaud’s father Yves in 1996 when Arnaud was still getting his viticulture and oenology degree. The father/son team began working together in 2005, and in 2009, they also became managers of the viticultural estate of the Château de Brézé. (The château is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site, but also a historically important reference in French fine wine: royals used to exchange these wines annually for Château d’Yquem Sauternes.) The same year they began to work the Château vines, Yves and Arnaud also began converting all their vineyards to organic and were officially certified in 2012. This movement stemmed first and foremost from the desire to express the terroir of each individual Clos in its purest, most vibrant form.
While soft-spoken, Arnaud Lambert is helping to drive a movement in the appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. The goal is to re-discover each individual terroir and its potential through organic viticulture and precise winemaking. This is particularly important considering 70% of the surface area in Brézé and Saint Cyr belongs to the cooperatives.
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. Arnaud’s driving ambition is to truly understand and reveal the distinctions within this extraordinary appellation.
Arnaud strives for consistent methods in the cellar, so that each individual terroir is what shines through. Only the traditional Champagne method for the crémants, which—grown on the estate’s chalkiest soils can hold their own against some of the great, classic champagnes. The Saumur Blanc and Rouge are vinified and aged exclusively in stainless steel to maintain fruit and freshness. As one moves up in the range and the wines gain in power and density, each of the five Clos wines see an increasing percentage of new oak and longer élevage.
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