Jérôme Lambert tends a couple of hectares of vines near Rablay-sur-Layon in a part of Anjou that is undoubtedly one of the Loire’s great terroirs.
Jérôme is a true Angevin, born in the area but not to a family of vignerons, his love of wine grew naturally. As a teenager he would pick leftover grapes, stomp on them and wait to see what would become of the fermenting juice. For over a decade he farmed small parcels that totalled less than a hectare of vines, making wine guided by nothing but instinct and the occasional advice from locals such as Richard Leroy.
Jérôme now farms a total of four hectares of vines dotted around the countryside. He has worked organically from the outset and has been making wine without any additions for several decades. He is best known for producing achingly pure Chenin Blanc from two parcels of old vines planted over schist. These tense, focused expressions of Chenin provide a wonderful expression of the terroir and have a fantastic ability to age.
He also farms a little Grolleau and Gamay which are planted over sandy loam and the wines reflect these. The red wines he produces here are joyful and perfumed and in many ways the ultimate bistro wines. In recent years Jérôme has proven himself to be a deft hand at pétillants, producing pure, vinous sparkling wines that manage to capture both the variety and terroir beautifully. Both his Chenin and a vibrant rosé of Gamay are amongst the best of this genre we have tried.
As is the case when spending time with the man himself, there is never a dull moment drinking Jérôme’s wines which combine raw energy, purity and finesse to rare effect.