Last weekend I had the privilege of dining with brooklynguy and brooklynlady in their beautiful brooklynhome. Brooklynguy, if you haven’t noticed from reading his blog, is a fantastic cook, and it was wonderful to spend some time with them out on their patio on a cool summer evening.
We drank many lovely bottles that night, among them the 2005 Blanc d’Argile by Bertrand Gautherot, of Vouette et Sorbée. One of Champagne’s hottest cult producers at the moment, Vouette et Sorbée is named for two vineyards on the property (Vouette and Sorbée, appropriately). Gautherot farms the entire estate biodynamically, ferments with natural yeasts and vinifies all of his wines in barrel, creating wines of intense purity and expression. He makes three different wines: Fidèle, which is the main cuvée, made from pinot noir grown on Kimmeridgian soils; Saignée de Sorbée, which is a saignée of pinot noir from the Portlandian soils of the Sorbée vineyard; and this chardonnay called Blanc d’Argile, which actually doesn’t come from either Vouette or Sorbée but another vineyard called Bas des Biaunes, which also lies on Kimmeridgian clay.
The wines are not vintage-dated, as they don’t spend enough time on their lees to qualify, but there’s a code on the label that reads R05, indicating the year of harvest. The Blanc d’Argile is a rich, powerfully vinous wine, needing decanting to open up its flavors and bring the components into balance. It’s full and ample in body yet it also feels energetic and tense, as if coiled and ready to pounce at any moment. There are some notes of fresh caramel and torrefaction on the nose that give way to more primary aromas of stone fruit and fresh apple as this opens up, and the virile richness is firmly underlined by an intense minerality that’s very unlike the Côte des Blancs — Gautherot lives in Buxières-sur-Arce in the Aube, and the Kimmeridgian soils here bear more of a resemblance to Chablis than to the Marne. I would love to see this wine with more bottle age, but unfortunately this was my last bottle: I’ll have to remember to put away more bottles of the next vintage.
Vouette et Sorbée is not currently available in the United States, but there are a few importers who will be working with his wines starting with the next release, including Domaine Select Wine Estates, New York, NY and Triage Wines, Seattle, WA.