Vouette & Sorbee
I had heard of Bertrand Gautherot long before I even tried his wines so it was with much excitement in 2015 that I got the opportunity to actually meet the man, the legend. It was a decidedly odd Summers day with a storm brewing but armed with pitch fork we climbed the beautiful south facing hill to visit his vineyards and discuss his process.
Vouette et Sorbee is situated in the beautiful village of Buxieres sur Arce which the family arrived in to in the 1880s. Over the next 50 years they increased the size of their relatively small farm to over 300 hectares. They were working with cereals, vegetables, sheep, cows and a small area of vineyards which they used to make sure they kept the best workmen in the area. They originally worked with Gamay which won several awards, along with their cows! Interesting side note: until 1927 the family used to sell some grapes to Burgundy and Champagne. All his graft vines come from Burgundy and not Champagne.
With Betrand’s generation the vineyards were split and he left to work in the cosmetics trade. He returned in 1993 and was stunned by the average quality that was being produced in the area. He met with the now illustrious lot; Pierre Larmandier, Jerome Prevost, Benoit Lahaye, Anselme Selosse and David Leclapart and formed a group along with Francois Bedel and Jean-Sebastien Fleury. And with this he took over the vineyards and began to make wines in 1997. He gained biodynamic status in 1998.
Vouette and Sorbee are actually two vineyards set in Portlandian soil, that found in Petit Chablis, heavy in Iron and Manganese. This soil is also high in Carbon with very small stones which allow increased microorganism growth. This, for Bertrand, is the key. Bertrand looks for a link between the soil, the animals and the surroundings. You find similar plants in between the vines as you do the forests just above them. The soil is living. You can literally smell it. Concerning his Saignee Rose he passionately tells me of the need to use the bunches closest to the base of the plant as they are smaller and the vines fill the furthest bunches first. This leads to better concentration. In the cellar he uses a traditional press. Alcoholic fermentation is done uses natural yeasts and in winter all the barrels are put outside during the cold weeks to make the tartric sedimentation. He feels this is better than filtration. He allows malolactic to occur. He even places his barrels away from energy lines which he had much fun in showing me using his dowsing rods. He has even found an energy low area where he has buried a ceramic egg which he plans to use for a skin macerated Pinot Blanc.
I’m not afraid to say that I don’t buy into it all. Luckily for everyone it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what is in the glass. And I can tell you that it is excellent. Truly excellent. With so many producers playing around with similar ideas I have tasted my fair share of blown out, unbalanced and frankly poor wines.
That he does all of this and creates wines of such balance, cleanliness and sophistication is a credit to his perseverance and ideas. I am truly stunned every time I open a bottle.
With 2001 came the first vintage. He never blends. Only 1 grape, 1 vineyard, from 1 year for each wine.
Fidele is a beautifully layered Pinot Noir with superb length. Notes of Lemoncello with redcurrant and blackcurrant. It evolves perfectly after a few hours in the glass, if you can wait.
The Chardonnay is in the form of Blanc d’Argile. For me a step up in complexity on the palate. Epic levels of fruit extraction with pineapple and white pepper. I literally start salivating just thinking about it! Notes of loganberry, raspberries and the finest little scarlett strawberries resting on the freshest butter, smeared on the softest toasted crumpet you could possible imagine! Yummy! All wrapped up with a beautiful saline note and a minerality that grows with each glass.
With Saignee de Sorbee, Bertrand seems to be able to pick it up even more. The mousse is sublime, the chalky minerality layers perfectly on the end with notes of rose hip, hibiscus and white pepper. The texture makes this one of the finest Roses I have ever had the joy to drink.
I struggle to state just how superb his wines are. Now if only I could get a hold of some for my cellar…
Village: Buxières Sur Arce
Region: La Cote des Bar
Contact: Bertrand Gautherot
Cuvée De Prestige:
Year Founded: 1997
Style: Clean, sophisticated, supreme.
Terroir: Buxieres sur Arce
Viticulture: Biodynamic since 1998
Recent Tasting Notes from Vouette & Sorbee
Vouette & Sorbee Fidele Extra Brut 2010
Tasted:May 17, 2014
Beautiful soft saline notes. Rich toast and white pepper with bitter forest fruit. Incredible length mid to late palate. Leav …read more…
Vouette & Sorbee Blanc d’Argile Extra Brut 2010
Tasted:April 27, 2014
Dark buttered toast notes on the nose. Complex white pepper, chocolate. Incredibly creamy mousse. Pineapple, fleshy. Salty. D …read more…