Grower Champagne Club – June 2019

Pierre Gerbais, L’Osmose, $68
Aurélien Gerbais represents the fourth generation of his family to head Champagne Pierre Gerbais and is described by his importer as “a handsome-nerdy-hipster winemaker who is unnervingly self-assured for his age, yet soft-spoken and humble.” They are based in Celles-sur-Ource in the heart of the Côte des Bar, where they have ten hectares of Pinot Noir, four of Chardonnay and four of Pinot Blanc, a grape rarely seen in Champagne these days. After Aurélien’s grandmother nearly died from pesticide poisoning from tending the grapes, they converted to organic vineyard management and now farm all their vines as naturally as possible. The vineyards are located on both sides of the river Ource. The locals call the northern, south-facing bank, the endroit (or “good side”) and the southern side, which faces north, the envers (the “wrong side”). But Aurélien chooses to source from both locations, finding that fruit from the south-facing plots adds richness while fruit from the north-facing vineyards contributes balancing freshness. The Aube region is closer to Chablis than it is to the rest of Champagne and the geology there is more like that of Burgundy, with the same Kimmeridgean limestone soil as in Chablis. Aurélien did all of his studies in Beaune and says he considers himself more Burgundian than Champenois, which shows in his wines with their remarkable purity and precision. This 100% Chardonnay is sourced from both north- and south-facing vineyards, from vines averaging about 50 years in age. It goes through malolactic fermentation and is matured on its lees in vats and in bottle for three years. At only three to four grams dosage, it is technically an extra brut, wonderfully fresh, focussed, and minerally, yet it also has beautiful depth and elegance, with a hint of brioche. An excellent Champagne to pair with food, especially seafood, or to enjoy on its own.