Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet

Location: Fixin, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy
Size: 16.0 hectares
Varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Viticulture: Sustainable; no pesticides or herbicides
Vinification: Whole cluster inclusion depends on the cuvée. 3-5 day cold maceration, native yeasts. Aged in concrete tanks or barrels (0-20% new). No fining, some filtration. Minimal sulfur additions (max 20 ppm free)

Amélie Berthaut, the daughter of Denis Berthaut and Marie-Andrée Gerbet, took over management of the estate from her father in 2013, after earning a degree in agro-oenology engineering in Bordeaux, and after stints working with Agnès Henry at Domaine de la Tour du Bon in Bandol, Rudd Estate in California’s Napa Valley, and Crater Rim in New Zealand. The marriage of her mother and father had united Domaine Denis Berthaut with some of the vineyards of François Gerbet, which all together now make up the 16 hectares of the estate. The Berthauts were first documented in Fixin in the 18th century – Amélie represents the seventh known generation. There are mottos carved into stone beams in the Berthaut home that date as far back as 1693. One of them says, “bien faire vax miev que dir”, or “it is better to act than to speak” and another “rien par force, tout par amour”, which means “nothing by force, everything by love”. Both are apt reflections of the ethos that Amélie and her husband Nicolas Faure (who is the vineyard manager) bring to the management of Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet. They follow lutte raisonnée farming – no pesticides or herbicides are ever used. In extreme circumstances, systemic methods may be employed to fight downy or powdery mildew pressure. (Whether this very limited use of chemicals is more harmful than larger and more regular doses of copper – the only accepted organic treatment – is still being debated within the scientific community.) Amélie prefers to ferment in cement tanks. Extraction is delicate. The wines are pumped over until the end of fermentation, when they are punched down lightly by foot. The Berthaut cellar is noticeably frigid (44°F in winter) which makes for extended malolactic fermentation and allows for long, reductive aging with moderate use of sulfur. The wines are never fined, some have light filtration. Use of new oak ranges from none (Bourgogne Rouge Hautes Cotes de Nuit and Fixin villages wines) to about 20% in the Premier Crus. At bottling, Amélie uses minimal sulfur additions, aiming ultimately for a maximum of 20 ppm free sulfur.