Aurélien Gerbais, 8th generation grower and 4th generation winemaker of Champagne Pierre Gerbais, spearheads the small, artisanal Domaine located in the village of Celles-sur-Ource in the Côte des Bar. Being the southernmost vignoble of the four main growing regions of the Champagne AOC, the Côte des Bar is distinct to the north of Champagne in both history and terroir, and therefore grape varietals and taste profile. Here, the soil is clay and limestone in contrast to northern Champagne which has chalky soils. In the river valley village of Celles-sur-Ource in particular, Pinot blanc (one of the four ‘rare’ grape varieties of Champagne AOC) is cultivated due to its resistance to humidity and spring frosts, and it is the precise and masterful expression of this heirloom variety that places Champagne Pierre Gerbais at the forefront of this exciting region.
The House holds a total of 20 plots across 17.5ha, composed of 50% Pinot noir, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot blanc, the latter being the highest proportion of any Estate cultivating this variety. The family also holds the oldest Pinot blanc vines of the region, on a plot called Les Proies. L’Originale, the most famous cuvée of the House, comprises entirely of these centenarian vines—the varietal composition of which was unprecedented for its time and cleverly reflected in the title.
Aurélien, grandson of the eponymous Pierre Gerbais, continues to uphold his forefathers’ revolutionary vision of innovation and excellence while making his own indelible mark on the Domaine since joining in 2009. Following from his father’s conversion to organic cultivation in 1996, Aurélien focuses on precise, sustainable and qualitative winemaking to reflect the unique terroir. Half of the House’s cuvées are made without sulphites, a fine example of which is L’Audace—a Blanc de Noirs composed of entirely Pinot noir and one of the first cuvées to be made without sulfites in Champagne AOC.