There’s too much to say about our friend Arnaud Lambert, one of the key men behind the rise of the wines of Brézé. Since my first visit to the domaine he’s allowed me into his world to brainstorm together about new developments with his estates. There have been consecutive days of long tastings and conversation about his choices with each wine and what the future might look like. Through the process, an idea was hatched and the results are beyond encouraging.
I proposed to Arnaud to isolate the most interesting parcels of Chenin Blanc that haven’t yet been made into single cru wines to assess their potential. The plan has been to make two barrels from each site, observe and taste them through their aging, then price them based on quality comparison with the other wines in his range with a guarantee that I’ll sell them in California.
All five of the “experiments” were successful, not surprisingly, but without a doubt the most compelling remains the Clos du Château, grown from the very top of the hill of Brézé. Originally a two-barrel lot, one stood out and was simply too profound to diminish its quality by blending it with the other.
The vineyard sits just in front of the Château de Brézé, and has been used for sparkling wine because of its cold terroir and beyond ripping acidity. Arnaud wasn’t sure that it would ripen properly enough to become a compelling still wine, but the stars aligned in 2016. We pushed forward and the results are simply fabulous. Those who collect and have taken a strong interest in this unique hill, with its slow rising collection of juggernaut white wines that have nearly redefined the category of dry Chenin Blanc altogether, should not miss this.
I’ve tasted it several times from barrel and have now had many bottles of the 2016 since its release. Each one ups the ante as it further develops in the bottle. Twenty of the twenty-three cases made it to California (the remaining three Arnaud kept for himself) and we have a few left. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait on this one. It is the most rare wine we import and one of the very best as well.
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