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Vouette et Sorbée ‘Fidèle’ NV Champagne

“One of the great producers of the Aube, Bertrand Gautherot farms his vineyards biodynamically, preserving the intensity of fruit from his steep, cool hillside. Indeed his cuvée Fidèle, made from Pinot Noir on Kimmeridgian soil, may remind as much of Chablis as of Champagne.” Rajat Parr, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste

Parting ways with his local co-op due to his decision to embrace organics in 1993 (certified biodynamic since 1998), Bertrand Gautherot’s approach has always been at the cutting edge for his region. His wines all come from a single harvest (noted by the ‘R’ and number on the back label), with the exception of the Fidèlecuvée, which sees a small addition of between five and 10% reserve wine from a perpetual blend started in 2001. Even this wine would be eligible to be called a vintage wine in any other region. These are all complex, textural, yet incredibly mineral wines made with low (or no) sulphur and without a drop of dosage. They are wines that result from low-yielding hillside vineyards, from intense, ripe fruit, from limestone-rich soils, and from a farmer whose heart lies in his vineyards.

Located in the hamlet of Buxières-sur-Arce, in the Aube’s Côte des Bar, Gautherot’s Estate is named after two of his key lieux-dits: Vouetteand Sorbée. The vineyards 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.

Fidele R18, disgorged Jan 2021. Fidèle is a blanc de noirs (100% Pinot Noir) grown on Kimmeridgian limestone soils. This is from 2018, yet also includes roughly 5% reserve wine (from a perpetual blend stored in two giant old foudres and started in 2006).