Vouette et Sorbee Textures (R18) 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.
Textures is one of Gautherot’s newest cuvée; a rare, 100% Pinot Blanc Champagne crafted from vines in the Fonnet vineyard (planted between 1995 and 2000). Gautherot describes it as his “easiest” wine, i.e. the one that is the easiest to drink young. There is certainly more pulpy texture (hence the name), more fruit, and easier-going refreshment than in his Blanc d’Argile. There is also ample intensity and a great deal of poise and interest on offer, and a complexity that comes from the aging. This is a unique, one-of-a-kind expression of the Côte des Bar. You can expect candied citrus, floral and ripe lemon aromas and flavours, a generous, not-quite-creamy palate and a twist of gentle, refreshing bitterness on the close.