What's New in July

A Drink From The Porron

Auxerrois

Situated between the Mâconnais and the Loire, Jean-Claude Berthillot of Vin des Fossiles has five parcels in the Saône-et-Loire composed of clay calcareous and flint soils. Berthillot only bottles single grape varieties, organized by soil type and vineyard, and crafts nuanced wines through careful vineyard management, site selection, and minimal intervention in the cellar.

On one parcel, he grows Auxerrois for his sparkling Vin du Nautile. Auxerrois is most often found in Alsace, either as a rich blending partner in a Crémant d'Alsace or Pinot Gris. It performs well in cool climates due to its early ripening and low acidity, especially when planted in the proper soils. Clay calcareous soil helps retain moisture in drier times, while allowing plenty of drainage during heavy rains. The clay will also hold a little bit of the day's heat, to help ripening during cold evenings. When yields are managed, a skilled vigneron can coax a honeyed and rich wine that is completely dry without overly bracing acidity. This style is particularly suited to sparkling wines.

Berthillot uses only indigenous yeasts for fermentation. The Vin du Nautile spends an additional 18 months in bottle, resting on its lees. At disgorgement, no dosage is added, which is notable because of the ripe fruit profile of the wine; this is not the lean style of some natures. The natural richness of Auxerrois in good soil with proper vineyard management is capable of producing stellar sparkling wines with ripe fruit, balanced acidity, and textured mouthfeel without added sugars.