Producer: Béatrice & Pascal Lambert
Region: Loire Valley
Annual Production (of all wines): 100,000 bottles
Farming: Organic (EcoCert), Biodynamic (Biodyvins), Natural
“Lambert is playing a dangerous game by using no SO2, but these bottles were very sound and, hopefully, anyone trying them will find the same crunchy fruit as I did, with terrific elegance.” - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate 12/12
Beatrice & Pascal Lambert believe that crafting the finest, richest Chinon possible begins with respect for the soil and the vine. Their 18 ha domaine, Les Chesnaies, sits in Cravant-les-Côteaux, just east of the center of Chinon, and is home to some of the finest terroirs for production of artisanal Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc in the region. Gravelly, alluvial soils with plentiful silica produce wines of richness, while calcareous clay (which includes deposits of chalky tuffeau) and silex impart regional distinction and finesse. Beatrice and Pascal seek to channel this ‘geological trilogy’ through their wines. Each cuvée is assembled to express the top features of the particular parcel of soils in which it grows.
Originally establishing Les Chesnaies in 1987, the Lamberts soon grew interested and decided to embrace organic viticulture, and by 1995 the domaine had converted to entirely organic viticulture. In 2005 they decided to get certified and earned the designation “BioEcocert,” a highly respected French agricultural classification. But that wasn’t the only thing afoot. In the early 2000s, inspired by Nicolas Joly and other dynamos in the Loire, The Lamberts undertook the challenge of biodynamic farming. This method creates an ideal harmony between vine, soil, and environment, thus producing the healthiest possible grapes from a well-sustained ecological domain.
No chemicals whatsoever are used on the pristine soils at Les Chesnaies. In accordance with the principles of biodynamics, various plants such as mustard, oats, and rape are used as cover crops. These facilitate the absorption of mineral applications like copper, and allow nitrogen to settle which becomes important during fermentation. Soil is enriched with home-made compost and biodynamic preparations 500 and 501. Vineyards are plowed by horse and harvest is performed manually. At the winery grapes are sorted manually. Fermentation does not include added yeast strains. The end result is succulent Chinons of exceptional grace, structure and elegance. They are deeply colored, soft, and fruity – an ideal alternative to Burgundy for food pairings.