A fourth-generation domaine, Pierre Gerbais is spearheaded today by Aurélien Gerbais. The family farms 18 hectares and has employed certified Ampelos organic techniques for more than 25 years. Aurélien went to school in Beaune, and Burgundian techniques are a big influence, as the wines lean toward restraint and elegance.
The winery and all the vineyards are located in Celles-sur-Ource, at the confluence of four valleys carved by the rivers Seine, Arce, Laigne, and Ource. The Ource here runs its course from east to west, with vineyards located on both of its banks. Locals call the northern bank the “endroit,” the good side, because it faces south, and they call the southern bank the “envers,” the wrong side, because it faces north. The geology of the vineyards in the Aube is unlike that of northern Champagne; it is actually very much like that of Burgundy. In his book Terroir, James E. Wilson calls the Aube a “charter member of the Kimmeridgian chain.” In Celles, on the endroit, there is also a band of clay and limestone similar to that found in the Côte d’Or.
The high-density vines range in age from 30 to over 100 years old. Ten hectares are Pinot Noir, four are Chardonnay, and four are Pinot Blanc. Rigorous sorting, low dosage, and no fining or filtration are the hallmarks of Gerbais Champagne.