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Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Blanc d'Argile Extra Brut (L10)
100% Chardonnay. A sommelier's darling and completely biodynamic, a rarity in Champagne, Vouette et Sorbee produces naturally-crafted, expressive wines. While the Aube’s emergence has been very recent, the seeds for its flowering were planted in 1986, when the area’s spiritual father, Vouette & Sorbée’s Bertrand Gautherot, began tending his vines in the village of Buxières-sur-Arce.But it was not until 2001 that Gautherot actually bottled his first domaine Champagnes, capturing the attention of collectors and launching the Aube on its ascendence. Blanc d'Argile is mainly from a small parcel of Chardonnay in Briaunes supplemented with scattered plantings of Chardonnay in Bertrand’s other lieux-dits. Small in volume now, it will increase when the young vines in Vouette begin to come online. Mineral, nougat, salty and long – basically a Grand Cru Chablis with bubbles!
"Gautherot’s (2010 vintage) NV Extra Brut Blanc d’Argile represents young Chardonnay vines (based on cuttings from Selosse and Dauvissat) in Kimmeridgian, and primary fermentation and malo took place in 400-liter barrels. While less multifaceted than the corresponding Pinot-based Fidele, this is only a little less unusual and intriguing. The nose was initially dominated by juniper and arbor vita, possibly prompted in large part by wood. Behind that, however, emerged bittersweet iris perfume, lemon zest, lemon pip, peanut, and eventually Chablis-like suggestions of herbed and salted chicken stock (here especially strong on celery leaf). Almost waxy in feel but with underlying firmness and lemon-tangerine brightness that help assuage its bitter elements, this finishes with impressive if slightly austere persistence. It should prove fascinating to follow for at least several years." - David Schildknecht