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Benoît Doussot

Clandestin

VigneronBenoît Doussot and Bertrand Gautherot
LocationBuxières-Sur-Arce (Aube)
Size of DomaineMicro négoce 8ha
TerroirContinental climate. Kimmeridgian clay-limestone soil over hard limestone bedrock, some Portlandian limestone. Gentle slopes, various aspects. 140-220m altitude.
ViticultureBuying certified or non-certified (vines in conversion) organic grapes
View Clandestin wines ↓

Freshly graduated from the lycée viticole of Beaune in the summer of 2015, the young and talented Benoît Doussot started a joint venture with Bertrand Gautherot called Clandestin. The pair make champagnes in a converted barn next door to Vouette & Sorbée, sourcing grapes to showcase similar terroirs and geological strata in the Côte des Bar within a 25km radius of Buxières-Sur-Arce, Gautherot’s hometown.

They buy sustainably-grown grapes mostly on cool north-western oriented Kimmeridgian slopes, vineyards often overlooked by the Marne-based houses in favour of the southern exposed parcels. Production is gradually increasing, buying from two farmers in 2015 to six nowadays (of whom Bertrand’s brother in Buxières has been the principal supplier) and helping the local growers through conversion to organic viticulture.

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Benoît grew up in Beaune and trained with Jean-Philippe Fichet (Meursault) while studying; his attention to detail, passion and Burgundian instincts have enabled him to quickly master vinification sous bois and élevage.

Indeed all of the Clandestin wines are vinified and aged in oak, Benoît and Bertrand being big fans of older 500/600ltr barrels as this size allows reduction, lowers the need for sulphur to the bare minimum (if used at all), and keeps the wine purer and more ‘droit’. Only two of their terroir-specific cuvées have been released so far but a few more are in the pipeline and surely a lot more will be heard about this exciting project.

Clandestin Wines

Clandestin

LES SEMBLABLES (2016)
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

The 15-35yo vines are all planted on cooler northern (+ north-west) slopes in a similar strata of Kimmeridgian limestone hence the name les Semblables. They have aged the wine in older barrels and then bottled off in July 2017 before disgorging during the winter with zero dosage. It offers very pretty wild strawberry fruit on the nose, good balance with plenty of energy, zesty red fruits on the palate with a saline, savoury finish.

Clandestin

LES GRANDES LIGNES (2016)
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The grapes for this cuvée come from the south-facing lieu-dit of Sorbée in Buxières-sur-Arce, where the limestone is Portlandian. The viticulture here was converted to organic practice in August 2015. Aged in a similar style to les Semblables, this champagne has good finesse, with tense citrus fruits tethered by notable chalky salinity on the finish. 3,000 bts produced. VLQ.