2011 Vouette et Sorbee Sobre Champagne
Bertrand Gautherot has been quietly working away in the hamlet of Buxières-sur-Arce, in the Aube’s Côte des Bar region of Champagne, yet his wines have not escaped the attention of the top restaurants and retailers of the world. Each year Vouette & Sorbee allocations are eagerly awaited, and these exceptionally fine wines are consistently some of the best and most unique expressions from the area.
The vineyards here lie closer to Chablis than to Épernay, both in distance and geology, with soils dominated by the same Kimmeridgian limestone for which Chablis is famed. Gautherot’s wines take their deep and powerful personalities from these soils and the (relatively) sunnier climate of the southern Aube. His wines all come from a single harvest—noted by the “R” number on the back label—with the exception of the Fidèle cuvée, which sees a small addition of 5-10% reserve wine from a perpetual blend started in 2001. His winemaking abhors any kind of manipulation in the cellar. Gautherot uses the traditional Coquard press and the juice is transferred into oak or amphorae via gravity rather than being pumped. Primary fermentations are always carried out with natural yeasts and riddling and disgorgement are all done entirely by hand. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration and without dosage. The results are some of Champagne’s most original and delicious wines: wines of distinctive personality, energy and sense of place.
Another rarity, Sobre debuted in 2005 and is Bertrand’s experiment in making a pure, late-disgorged Chardonnay. In great years for this Estate, of which 2011 was one, Gautherot pieces together a single barrel of his finest Chardonnay for extended lees aging. Following 100-plus months sur lattes, this was disgorged by hand in April 2020. Naturally, because of the alternate methodology and the length of aging on lees you can expect something far more complex, fascinating and delicious!