Pierre Gerbais is located in the Cote des Bars where Pinot Noir reigns supreme. 18ha is grown by the family who have generations of experience on hand. Ampelos certified they stick closely to organic principles only diverging on treating mildew. In 2019 I visited Pierre Gerbais and they make amazing wine.
A blend comprised of 5% Pinot Blanc, and 47.5% each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vines averaging 35 years. The base wine is from the 2007 vintage, with a dosage of 5g/L. Aged on its lees in bottle for 30 months. Pierre Gerbais Reserve Brut is a distinctively aromatic and stunning Champagne. The Pinot Blanc seems to add a Riesling like complexity and lift to the wine. There is plenty of acid and phenolic grip on the mid-weight palate which gets overlooked because it is so pretty. I think this is delicious. I’d have it with a mushroom dish, I think the contrast would really hit it off. No need to age it any longer.
Cotes des Bar
Part of the Aube district where the soils types and indeed geographically they closer to Chablis and Burgundy than the traditional Champagne profile. The limestone base and continental climate make it perfect for Pinot Noir.
A wine region of France approximately 160km East of Paris. It is also the name of the wines produced from the area. Most famously it is a sparkling wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and is aged on lees. Although there is the occasional still wine you can find around particularly Pinot Noir. The fantastically named Bouzy Rouge is one such example. There are very few single vintage, single vineyard, single variety Champagnes (I can only name one and it was produced only 47 times between 1900 and 1999). Why? Due to the large area, the region covers and the challenging weather the houses blended wines to produce a consistent and reliable product every year. This is where the growers come in. They relish the chance to show off vintage variation and small plot wines.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation. In a Champagne context Chard can add mineral flavours, stone fruits and acidity along with some weight of fruit.
Its spiritual home is Alsace but these vines have travelled the world. In Alsace, it is often blended with the other Pinot family members to make a full-bodied, easy-drinking white. Generally not as complex as the other Pinots but the best are amazing. AKA Weissburgunder.