Within the cold, west-facing, Kimmeridgian limestone-rich lieu-dit of Biaunes, there is a small plot of Chardonnay that Gautherot planted wild: without preparing the soils and amongst the native vegetation (a totally crazy idea). The Côte des Bar is overwhelmingly planted to Pinot Noir, but in 2000 Gautherot chose Chardonnay. He used massale cuttings from Anselme Selosse’s vines (in Avize) and Vincent Dauvissat’s Valmur Grand Cru vineyard. This plot has become the base of what Antonio Galloni calls “one of the most beautiful and distinctive wines in Champagne.”
The vines here yield only 15 to 20 hl/ha each year—one of the keys to the intensity on offer. The 2018 and 2019 wines also took in some Chardonnay from Fonnet—from 2020, upcoming vintages will also take in Chardonnay from the Vouette vineyard, which was previously planted to Pinot Noir but was replanted to Chardonnay several years ago.
Fermentation for this wine was wild and took place in used 500- and 600-litre barrels, with a small portion of fruit fermented and raised in Georgian amphora (see Textures). As with the Fidèle, this wine spent roughly 15 to 18 months in bottle on lees, before being disgorged by hand with zero dosage.
- Importer Note