Episode 411 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Arnaud Lambert of Chateau de Brézé and Domaine de Saint-Just in the Loire Valley of France.
The Brézé vineyard has achieved acclaim in recent years within wine circles because of its association with the Chenin Blanc of Clos Rougeard, a wine that is much sought after in today’s market. But Arnaud Lambert explains in this interview that Brézé is more than Rougeard, in fact, much more, as Lambert notes that what is referred to as Brézé encompasses over three hundred hectares of vines. Of that number, Lambert farms twenty hectares across several individual clos, and the strength of this interview is partly attributable to how much detail he gives about the differences found within the larger vineyard. Lambert is very focused on individualities of soil composition, and he customizes his winemaking for parcels based on his appreciation for the soil makeup underneath the vines. More sand at a site, for instance, indicates to him that he should extract less in the cellar and age the wine for less time in barrel than he would when working with a heavy clay parcel. For Lambert, the carry-through of soils is the number one consideration for his work, and thus he is aware of how the Brézé can imply different kinds of wines from its different parts. He also is aware of how the vineyards of the Brézé have changed over time, being in the past very much acclaimed for white wine, but in more recent decades often devoted to large yielding blocks intended for sparkling wine, or given over increasingly to red wine production. The re-acknowledgement of Brézé as a top site for white wine is the result of a very small set of individual producers working with it today, as the majority of what is grown on the vineyard is shipped off to the co-op for anonymous blending. If you are curious to rediscover some sense of what this vineyard can provide, this interview is an excellent guide to the place and the potential.
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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine