NV Vouette et Sorbée Textures14215
WINEMAKER: Bertrand Gautherot
REGION: Champagne, FR
VARIETAL: Pinot Blanc
VITICULTURE: Certified Biodynamic
Textures is a rare, 100% Pinot Blanc Champagne crafted from vines in the Fonnet vineyard, planted between 1995 and 2000. Gautherot describes it as his “easiest” wine, referring to it being the most approachable when young. There is certainly more fleshy texture (hence the name), more fruit, and an easier-going persona than found in his Blanc d’Argile. There is also plenty of intensity, complexity and fabulous poise. The grapes were fermented and raised in large, buried Georgian amphora and used oak barrels, as well as a couple of Italian dolia, for roughly nine months before blending. The bulbous-shaped amphora, crafted by the last Georgian family specialising in this particular shape, affords Gautherot the kind of lees contact and minimal oxidation he is looking for. A portion of the fruit was also fermented and macerated on skins. After blending, the wine then spent roughly 18 months on lees in bottle. Sadly, this cuvée is no longer being produced as the vineyard that supplied this wine has been taken back by Bertrand’s brother, so this will be one of the final releases—cherish it while you can!
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. All his wines come from a single harvest (noted by the ‘R’ and number on the back label), except for the Fidèle cuvée, which sees a small addition of between five and 10% reserve wine from a perpetual blend started in 2001. This wine would be eligible to be called a vintage wine in any other region. These are all complex, textural, 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, intense, ripe fruit, limestone-rich soils and a farmer whose heart lies in his vineyards.
A visit here is always a lot of fun and yet so thought-provoking. It’s a domaine constantly experimenting and pushing boundaries—Bertrand has a high level of passion, single-mindedness and seemingly insatiable determinism. Despite several years with terribly low yields (the 2021 harvest was down 80%, primarily due to frost), Bertrand is enthusiastic about the future. Importantly, alongside the likes of Agrapart, Egly-Ouriet, Larmandier-Bernier and Selosse, this is another great grower where the next generation has returned. Bertrand now has his daughter Héloïse working with him, bringing fresh energy and new ideas. There is so much innovation happening here (even some that we cannot speak about) that it’s hard to keep up.
The winemaking here abhors any manipulation in the cellar. Gautherot uses the traditional Coquard press and the juice is transferred into oak or amphorae via gravity rather than being pumped. Primary fermentations are always carried out with natural yeasts, and riddling and disgorgement are done by hand. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration and without dosage.