Bertrand Gautherot

Vouette et Sorbée

VigneronBertrand Gautherot
LocationBuxières-Sur-Arce (Aube)
Size of Domaine5.5 ha
TerroirContinental climate. Kimmeridgian clay-limestone soil over hard limestone bedrock, some Portlandian limestone in places. Up to 20% slope. 250-320m altitude.
ViticultureCertified biodynamic (Demeter)
View Vouette et Sorbée wines ↓

The jovial and outspoken Bertrand Gautherot is a vigneron at heart. He started back in 1986 tending his family’s vines in Buxières-Sur-Arce, on Jurassic limestone hillsides nearer to Chablis than Reims, selling grapes to Champagne houses. A deep respect for his terroir and concern for his young family triggered a conversion to biodynamic farming (Demeter certified as early as 1998) leading the way to sustainable viticulture in the Côte des Bar and the Aube region as a whole - a long-lasting inspiration for the younger generations of local growers.

Harvest time

Encouraged by some of his peers and friends, the like of Jérôme Prévost and Anselme Selosse, he bottled his first wines in 2001 refining his unique style over the years, crafting exceptionally textured, complex and terroir-driven champagnes. Bertrand recently commented that he has learned a lot about barrel ageing since Benoît Doussot joined the estate a few years ago (having previously worked for Jean-Philippe Fichet in Meursault) and there is now an extra level of finesse in his wines.

Most of Bertrand’s vines are located immediately behind the family’s house, an undeniable advantage in a region prone to frost (he can react quickly), on the beautiful coteau of Vouette with its ubiquitous Kimmeridgian soil. Atop lies the lieu-dit Sorbée, a plateau of fragmented Portlandian limestone. It is interesting to note that in his constant search for terroir expression Bertrand has been replacing some of his pinot noirs on Vouette’s Kimmeridgian limestone with chardonnay because soil and grape combination is ideal (think Chablis).

The dolia used for the cuvée Textures

Meticulous viticulture has been practised for more than two decades, yields are tiny, grapes are pressed by an old traditional wooden Coquard press, the wine isn’t pumped or fined and filtered, low SO2 is added at press only, ageing occurs in new to 8yo barrels (fûts for pinot noir and 500/600ltr barrels for chardonnay), and all his champagnes benefit from a couple of years bottle age after being disgorged without dosage.

Bertrand also likes to point out that all the operations in the cave are carried out by people who work in the vines – definitely not the golden rule in the region!


Vouette et Sorbée Wines

100% Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)
(12% alc.)

This comes from low-yielding vines in the lieu-dit Biaune, a cool parcel planted alongside the forest on Kimmeridgian soil. The chardonnay vines are massal selections from Selosse’s Avize and Dauvissat's Chablis GC vineyards. Oak aged in 4-10yo 500/600ltr barrels before bottling for 'élevage sur lattes', it is richer, deeper and more complex than many blanc de blancs but still with tightly wound acidity and salivating minerals – like a top Chablis GC with fine bubbles. Disgorged 11/20 - Non dosé.

FIDÈLE (2020)
100% Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)
(12% alc.)

The vines for this brilliant champagne are planted in the lieu-dit of Vouette (see profile), on a Kimmeridgian limestone slope facing due south. It offers a rich gold colour, typical of low yielding pinot noir, and is vinous on the palate with mineral vitality. Given a little time in the glass, and served ideally at 12°C, it evolves constantly, revealing flavours layer after layer. Disgorged 10/22 - Non dosé.

100% Pinot Blanc
100% Pinot Blanc (12% alc.)
(12% alc.)

Following advice from Croatian and Italian friends, Bertrand decided to experiment skin-maceration vinifying in a buried Georgian qvevri (pinot blanc) and a couple of Italian dolia (chardonnay). This pinot blanc is planted on a deep limestone-rich clay, an extremely qualitative plot owned by his brother. The ten months long maceration in qvevri enhance flavours from a rather discreet variety, as well as creating a savoury, voluptuous and multi-layered mouthfeel. A stunning and iconic wine. Disgorged 11/21 - Non dosé.

100% Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)
(12% alc.)

Sorbée sits on Portlandian limestone, a type of soil which represents less than 1% of the appellation, and was planted with an old massal selection from Domaine Lafarge in Volnay (this is a rare wine in many ways!). Bertrand explains, "as children we used to drink my grandmother's red wine from the Sorbée vineyard, which was traditionally planted with gamay – it was 10% alcohol and we would drink it in summer mixed with water. I am just copying the elders and paying tribute to my family." Whole-cluster pinot noir grapes go through semi-carbonic maceration before bleeding (saignée) occurs, it makes for a deep, red-fruited, peppery champagne. "Une tisane de pinots noirs", as Bertrand would say, reminiscent of a fine Rosé des Riceys. Disgorged 11/21 - Non dosé.

60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (12% alc.)
(12% alc.)

A selection of a few of Bertrand’s favourite barrels of chardonnay and pinot noir, usually encompassing the different terroirs and soils of the domaine, and given long bottle age 'sur lattes' (nine years for the 2008!) before disgorging. This is a vinous and extremely complex champagne with lingering sherry-like tertiary flavours, a wine with endless possibilities when it comes to food matching.

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