Grower Champagne Club – September 2015

NV Vouette & Sorbée, Cuvée Fidèle
This month we dip down to the southern Côte des Bar (or Aube) region, technically still a part of Champagne, but much closer in both proximity and terroir to Chablis. It has the same Kimmeridgian limestone soil as in that northernmost appellation of Burgundy, in contrast to the more chalk and clay soils found in the heart of Champagne to the north. Vouette et Sorbée winemaker Bertrand Gautherot has been farming here in the tiny town of Buxières-sur-Arce since 1986. Gautherot firmly believes that healthy soil and vines produce better and more distinctive wines and he follows strict biodynamic practices, receiving Demeter certification in 1998. His inspiration comes from his mentor, Anselme Selosse, one of the most influential winemakers in Champagne, who helped lead the revolution towards terroir-based, grower-produced wines. The highly respected wine writer, Peter Liem, has called Vouette et Sorbet “One of Champagne’s hottest cult producers.” Always focused on his land, Gautherot named his winery for his two main vineyards, Vouette and Sorbée. His primary cuvée, Fidèle, so-named to remind him to be faithful to the earth, is 100% Pinot Noir, sourced mostly from Vouette. Although it is not vintage-dated, it is always primarily from a single harvest. All of his wines are vinified in oak and receive no dosage (or sweet wine), and they are known for their incredible purity and expression. Fidèle is definitely on the drier side, yet broad and rich on the palate, with savory, toasty notes and bright food-friendly acidity, perfect with tempura or richer seafood. Gautherot recommends against serving it too cold, and suggests letting it breathe about 30 minutes after uncorking to open up. After all, “it is a wine!” It is $68.75