Mainly from a small parcel of Chardonnay in Briaunes supplemented with scattered plantings of Chardonnay in Bertrand’s other lieux-dits. Small in volume now, it will increase when the young vines in Vouette begin to come online. Mineral, nougat, salty and long – basically a Grand Cru Chablis with bubbles.
Although Vouette et Sorbée only started releasing Champagnes about 10 years ago, the domaine has grown in stature, mentioned in the same reverent conversations as rising stars Cédric Bouchard, Dominique Moreau (Marie Courtin), and Pascal Agrapart.
Bertrand Gautherot used to sell grapes to other Champagne producers, but after some convincing by a famous Champagne friend (Anselme Selosse), he started producing Champagne under his own name in 2001, with his first wine released in 2004. Gautherot’s 5 hectares are located in the village of Buxières-sur-Arce in the Aube's Côte des Bar, just 60km northeast of Chablis. His parcels (Vouette, Sorbée, and Biaunes) consist of Kimmeridgian marls capped by Portlandian limestone, which have more in common with the soils of Chablis’ premier and grand cru vineyards than they do with their counterparts in the Marne.
Through fastidious work both in the vineyard and in the cellar, Vouette et Sorbée produces Champagnes faithful to the character of their terroir and vintage. Gautherot farms the estate biodynamically; its vineyards have been Demeter certified since 1998. Bernard manually harvests the grapes, and employs a vertical Coquard press to obtain the juice from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. In the cellar, he ferments with natural yeasts and employs minimal sulfur before bottling. Bottles also list disgorgement dates, as well as the year of the base wine (Vouette et Sorbée’s wines aren’t vintage dated since they only spend 20 months on the lees vs. the minimum 36 months mandated, for vintage designation).
The Fidèle (Extra Brut) is the estate’s main cuvée, a blanc de noirs (grown on Kimmeridgian soils) with dried cherry fruit and a savory, herbal intensity. The Blanc d’Argile is a blanc de blancs from younger vines, grown in a the west-facing Biaunes vineyard, which produces a wine that combines power with chalky, mineral precision. The Saignée de Sorbée, from the Portlandian soils of the Sorbée vineyard, is one of their most original and individual bottlings. A saignée rosé, this has deep concentrated pomegranate and raspberry fruits and savory, peppery, meaty flavors. With its power and stony, ferrous intensity, it tastes as if Gautherot bled the terroir of this vineyard straight into this idiosyncratic and singular Champagne! Jonas Mendoza