Bertrand Gautherot possesses senses of humour and humility in equal parts, as well as three wonderful vineyards in the southeastern outpost of Champagne’s Côtes des Bar.
For a region whose marketing success is the subject of many case studies, Bertrand, in his trademark self-effacing manner, refers to his cows as his marketing department.
They’re doing a great job as demand for his elegant and immensely expressive wines have increased drastically over the last two decades that he has been estate bottling rather than selling his grapes.
He farms biodynamically, though insists that “you don’t drink a wine because it’s biodynamic, you drink it because it’s good.”
Bertrand’s 5ha estate is named after his two main vineyards: Vouette on Kimmeridgian soil—the fossilised oyster-laden marl that it shares with Chablis—and Sorbée on Portlandian soil, also found in Chablis, further up the slope.
All of his wines share an unmistakable fourth dimension of energy and vivacity, but Textures, his 100% pinot blanc Champagne, is unusual both in variety and method as Bertrand vinifies and ages in barrel and clay amphorae for nine months, then adds fresh grapes once primary fermentation finishes.
The result is a rich, nuanced, idiosyncratic Champagne of, naturally, unique texture.