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Arnaud Lambert Saumur Terres Rouges

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Country/State France

Region Loire

Subregion Saumur

Vineyard/Proprietary St.-Cry-en-Bourg

Type Cabernet Franc

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Here is a joyous, heartwarming, mirthful red wine that will bring a smile to your palate and a warmth to your dinner table – Arnaud Lambert’s Saumur Champigny Cabernet Franc “Terres Rouges.”

I realize that this guy’s name, the place he’s from, and the grape variety he is using probably isn’t always on your nightly dining table. But it should be, and I’m here to pleasantly, and quickly, introduce you to all of them.

Arnauld Lambert is a young winemaker in the Loire Valley, with his hometown being Saumur Champigny. Coming to winemaking at a young age, he also arrived with no preconceived notions, which is important for his part of the world. Most Saumur wines are made in the old, co-operative style, emphasizing bulk production instead of quality of fruit. Most are also grown using a high input of chemicals as well.

But Lambert changed all of that. First he shifted to organics, and he is now shifting to biodynamics. Instead of large bulk parcels, he is vinifying small cuvees focused on obtaining the pure expression of the terroir. Hence this one being named “red earth”, after that soil on which it is planted. As Bettane & Desseauve (the top French wine magazine) noted of Lambert: “[He is] one of the most talented winemakers in the Loire… one of Top 100 Producers of France.”

In Saumur, the main red grape variety is Cabernet Franc. And with stating that, I would like to give a bit of a disclaimer, with a silver lining. Loire Cabernet Franc, when farmed in bulk, often is not to most Americans’ flavor profile liking. If you were studying for a Master Somm exam, the kindest way you might summarize it is “underripe blueberry.”

But that’s not this wine. Here, due to careful vineyard practices and meticulous work in the winery, Lambert’s Saumur Franc expresses a gorgeous purity of red raspberry fruit and blueberry fruit on the nose and palate. The fruit expression is so dynamic and engaging, it is absolutely sure to please. But this is still the Loire (not Napa), and the fruit character is one of vivid freshness, as opposed to, say, Pritchard Hill Franc’s girthy power. The wine is lean with the sense of being utterly refreshing, giving the palate and finish definition in detail – a master work of deliciousness wrapped in a delightfully unassuming presentation. 

Here, front and center, is the new-wave of Loire Cabernet Franc, the reason that sommeliers everywhere are bragging about being able to glass pour Lambert’s wines. Like many wines I’ve seen over the years, I believe this one will soon become a cult favorite, and quickly double and triple in price, if not more.

Or, maybe an easy way to summarize this wine—-

If you can recall the flush stirrings of your first teenage romance immortalized in Austrud Gilberto’s Bossa Nova rendition of Rogers and Hammerstein’s song “It Might as Well be Spring” you’ve got this wine – charming, pretty, restless, elegant, gay in a melancholy way, bursting with anticipation of all the new life spring brings. So delicious! – Don’t miss our modest allocation.