I predict a riot…..I predict a riot
This would have to be….by a fair stretch…my favourite rose Champagne. It certainly doesn’t fit the standard rose mould, so it may not be to everyone’s tastes, but for this little black duck, Bertrand Gautherot from Vouette et Sorbée, is presently producing some of the most exciting wines to come out of the region.
The Vouette et Sorbée estate has been certified by Demeter since 1998, and is located in the village of Buxières-sur-Arce in the Aube’s, Côte des Bar. Aube is closer to Chablis than it is to Épernay, closer to Burgundy than to Champagnes heartland. The soils down here have more in common with Chablis than the famous Cretaceous chalks of the Marne. Down here it’s mainly Portlandian limestone over Kimmeridgian marl….exactly the same gear that lies beneath the famous Premier cru & Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis…in fact the majority of the Côte des Bar lies on this Kimmeridgian base and down this way, Pinot Noir is king.
Gautherot has several wines in his quiver….the Fidèle…a Blancs de Noir, fermented and aged in oak….the Blanc d’Argile….a Blancs de Blancs. Both of these hail from the previously mentioned Kimmeridgian soils, on the slope where the majority of Gautherot’s vineyards lie. The third wine is the Saignée de Sorbée….the Sorbée vineyard lies a bit further up the hill on Portlandian limestone. The yields are incredibly low by Champagne standards….down towards 15hL/ha and the fruit from the Sorbée vineyard is split…with the leaner Pinot Noir from the upper vineyard heading to the Fidèle, and the lower vines making there way into the Saignée de Sorbée rosé.
Gautherot first started producing his Champagnes in 2001 and the first vintage of the Saignée de Sorbée came from the 2003 vintage. Gautherot considers Anselme Selosse as his mentor, so as you’d expect the wines are captivating, idiosyncratic and thought-provoking……vinous and sinewy….more akin to fine wine than a flippant celebratory Champagne. For me, the Saignée de Sorbée in particular points very much toward red Burgundy and the wines of the Jura……it is just beautiful to drink.
All the wines of Vouette et Sorbée benefit greatly from decanting, so don’t be afraid to splash them into a decanter before serving. They are also produced with a very low sulphur regime so freshness is the key….likewise care in transportation is essential and I know for a fact that the Australian importer is very much on the ball in that respect.
These wines don’t spend the required time on lees, and as such can’t be labelled as vintage Champagne but for the geeks & wine hipsters among us all the details of disgorgement and vintage are actually in the fine print on the label….this is also very desirable in regards to the points on freshness of product mentioned above. This particular bottle says “Dégorge Le 12/01/10 R06″ ……so the first series of numbers is the disgorgement date…..then the harvest….or récolte….2006.
Pale cherry red in hue with a fine bead and lively mousse, the wine shows beautifully defined aromas of red cherry, blood orange and redcurrant fruits….there is a slightly herbal….almost “Fernet Branca” like character hovering in the background also with hints of heady spice, pepper, game, tobacco, tea cake and dried flowers. It is the sort of wine you get lost in….just a wonderful array of aromas, with a captivating savoury edge that draws you into the glass.
Savoury too on the palate….with gorgeous detailed redcurrant and red cherry fruits and that blood orange character that is like catnip to this little vinofreak. There are hints of dried citrus peel, mushroom broth, tobacco, dried flowers, Fernet Branca, baking spice and roast game with a sapid, saline minerality that makes the tastebuds ache for another mouthful. Lively, eccentric and super complex it is a wine that you just must seek out…..it is vital.
Price: $150 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 12% – Souce: Cellar – Importer: Eurocentric Wine
In 1911, riots erupted in the Champagne region as the large houses sought to kick Aube out of the Champagne region….the Aube was relegated to a lower staus and life carried on……I think it’s time for another riot huh?