Show-stopping biodynamic grower Champagne that will have the hairs on your arms standing on end. Truly sublime and unforgettable wine. We don't say that lightly! Find out more.
As you're more likely to find a pet nat from the Loire, or a cremant from Limoux listed here at Wayward, it follows that Champagne isn't really an area we specialise in. Until we were educated otherwise, we were of the impression that Champagne only came from the big houses; those buying up grapes from many different growers and then producing the wine to a signature house style that wasn't really in-keeping with our leaning towards expressions of smaller vineyard sites. Then we discovered grower Champagne - quite simply wine made by producers who work in both vineyard and cellar to see the whole process through themselves, and in so doing, seek to demonstrate the more specific terroir of their land, something that is really in opposition to widely-perceived notion of big brand Champagne.
When we first tried the Champagne of Vouette et Sorbée we knew we were tasting something different - brighter, more energy, definition and detail. Fidèle is a 'blanc de noir', meaning a white wine made with 100% red grapes, in this case Pinot Noir. It comes from a domaine that equals just four hectares in total, the vines planted in the lieu-dit of Vouette, over the defining Kimmeridgian limestone of the region. The land is worked according to biodynamic principles, again something that is not common this far north, with many vineyards appearing barren and totally devoid of life after being rinsed with industrial herbicides and pesticides. Work in the cellar is decidedly old-school, with natural fermentations, transfer from press to barrel via gravity and most importantly, no doseage (the process of adding sugar to achieve the final balance of the wine) after the bottles have been matured and disgorged. A more true expression, you might say. In terms of flavour, despite its beautiful golden appearance the wine shows lots of red cherry and strawberry fruit courtesy of the Pinot as well as a zesty, mineral vitality. This wine single-handedly changed our perception of Champagne, and although not a bottle to open lightly, we feel it is worth every penny.
The jovial and outspoken Bertrand Gautherot is a vigneron at heart. He started back in 1986 tending his family's vines in Buxières-Sur-Arce, on Jurassic limestone hillsides nearer to Chablis than Reims, selling grapes to Champagne houses. A deep respect for his terroir and concern for his young family triggered a conversion to biodynamic farming (Demeter certified as early as 1998) leading the way to sustainable viticulture in the Côte des Bar and the Aube region as a whole - a long-lasting inspiration for the younger generations of local growers. Meticulous viticulture has been practised for more than two decades, yields are tiny, grapes are pressed by an old traditional wooden Coquard press, the wine isn't pumped or fined and filtered, low SO2 is added at press only, ageing occurs in new to 8yo barrels (fûts for pinot noir and 500/600ltr barrels for chardonnay), and all his champagnes benefit from a couple of years bottle age after being disgorged without dosage. Bertrand also likes to point out that all the operations in the cave are carried out by people who work in the vines - definitely not the golden rule in the region!