Champagne Clandestin is a new joint project between Bertrand Gautherot of Vouette & Sorbée and his righthand man, the young, energetic, Burgundian-trained Benoit Doussot. Needless to say both Bertrand and Benoit have a lot of experience with the terroirs around their village, so much so that their neighbours in Buxières-sur-Acre have been turning to them for assistance in setting their vineyards to rights after years of neglect.
Clandestin means hidden or secret and it refers to the source of this Champagne: the long-overlooked, west-facing parcels of Pinot Noir on Kimmeridgian soils as well as Chardonnay on Portlandian soils above Buxières. Southerly, easterly and southeastern-facing parcels have long been favoured in the Aube because they are bathed in more sunlight for a longer portion of the day while their western counterparts were seldom prized or utilized fully. Clandestin is made entirely from these cooler, west-facing vineyards – Pinot Noir on Kimmeridgian while the Chardonnay comes from a single, south-facing vineyard site planted on Portlandian clay.
All of these sites are farmed organically and certified by ECOCERT and are vinified according to the exacting standards for which Vouette & Sorbée has been rightly praised. Les Semblables is a savoury Champagne made from 100% Pinot Noir showing a salty minerality dictated by its sourcing while Les Grandes Lignes is tense and mineral Champagne from 100% Chardonnay. Everything at Clandestin is harvested by hand, fermentation are natural with nothing added or taken away. After fermentation the wines are aged in neutral 300L and 500L French oak barrels before aging sur latte for 15 months. To retain the purity of these Champagnes, they are bottled without dosage.