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Guiborat: It’s All About Chalk

Guiborat: It’s All About Chalk

Some Champagne deliver luxury. Some make, essentially, Grand Cru Burgundy with bubbles. We love both styles when done right. But today we want to focus on a producer, Guiborat, that delivers one thing above all else: the chalky goodness of Chardonnay grown in the Cotes des Blancs.

The Cotes des Blancs is, more or less, Champagne’s answer to the famous white Burgundy villages of the Cote d’Or. Both are essentially slopes that point east and a little to the south. Both have plenty of limestone in their soils. But the Cotes des Blancs is further north, and therefore colder. It is difficult to make still wine that isn’t excessively austere, and so bubbles are normally added to make Champagne. The other major difference is that the Cotes des Blancs has a lot more pure, white (“blanc”) Chalk. And that is what Champagne Guiborat is all about.

The winery focuses on blending Chardonnay from top sites in the area, all of which feature plenty of chalk. “Tethys” is a blend of Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry. “Prisme” comes from older vineyards in Cramant and Chouilly.

As the wines are all about expressing chalky intensity, dosages are kept quite low and malos (i.e., the secondary fermentation that creates creaminess) are avoided. The Tethys is blended with older vintages from a perpetual reserve, while the Prisme is pure vintage.

You’ll find Chardonnay flavors here that are not that common in Burgundy. Things like jasmine, almond skin, and toasted sourdough. Most of all, of course, you’ll find chalk, and some answers as to why it’s such a special ingredient in sparkling white wine.

Guiborat Champagne BdB Grand Cru Extra Brut Tethys.20 NV $65.99

Guiborat Champagne BdB Grand Cru Extra Brut Prisme.18 NV $89.99


This story was originally featured in our newsletter, where it was offered at a special subscribers-only discount. Subscribers get special offers, the first look at new discoveries, invites to events, and stories about wines and the artisans that make them.