Champagne: Spotlight on Pierre Péters
By Christine Havens for wine-chronicles.com
15 February 2015
My first encounter with Pierre Péters happened innocently enough, at a trade tasting, as such encounters often do. “How much is this?” was my knee-jerk response after the first sip. The company’s owners wanted us to keep our opinions to ourselves until the tastings’ end, including questions about price.
At that point in my tasting career, I’d had much less experience with Champagne. Yet, Pierre Péters was instantly memorable, even though my introduction to this celebrated house had been in tasting their Cuvée de Réserve, a wine that cannot be described as humble, despite the fact that it is an entry-level label. (With some searching, the Cuvée de Réserve can be found for less than $50.00, and it’s well-worth seeking out.)
Here in Carmel, amongst the cypress trees, rugged coastal cliffs, and the ever-changing blue-green backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, I’ve been granted space and time to taste dozens of wines, among them, Pierre Péters. These are wines that deserve thoughtfulness, so that their lines and curves and luminous, sparkling dimensions have time to unfold in the glass. Each has a story to tell.
Rosé for Albane Brut NV is relatively new, introduced in 2007, it is their first rosé Champagne. A blend of 60% Chardonnay from Le Mesnil and 40% saignée Pinot Meunier, it’s limpid and salmon-hued in the glass, a color that nearly verges on pale orange when held up to the light. The mousse is fine and delicate, so too are the aromatics, though no less enticing; strawberries in heavy cream, shortbread, white flowers, and anise. The palate has a creaminess to it as well, shot through with blood orange and chalk notes that lead to a dulcet finish. Disgorged December 2013
Pierre Péters L’Esprit Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2008: Pearlescent, with cadmium green reflexes, L’Esprit offers up a fresh bouquet of lemon verbena, lime zest, white flowers, and warm croissant. On the palate, notes of seafoam and citrus intertwine with weightier flavors; brioche and dewy white peaches. There is too, wonderful, enlivening salinity on the finish. Disgorged June 2013
Pierre Péters Cuvée de Réserve Oubilée Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2008: The most intense of the trio, Réserve Oubilée is made from fruit grown in Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Avize, and Cramant. Of note, Mesnil-sur-Oger is regarded as the “King of Champagne villages”, and is home to Salon and Krug. Four years of aging on the lees lends opulence and dimension. Brioche, lemon curd, crystalline honey, and wet shell lead into a powerful attack. There is a fabulous contrast of purity and texture, citrusy acidity, and mineral-driven saline notes that surge to a nearly endless finish. Disgorged June 2011
Pierre Péters Chetillons Cuvée Spéciale Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 2005: Tasted in December 2014, Chetillons Cuvée Spéciale reminded me of a Swedish bread my ex-mother-in-law made every year at Christmas. Tasting it brought back all of the memories of the yeasty rising dough, the cardamom, and toasted almonds. It opened slowly, with heady aromas of golden delicious apple, shortbread, honeycomb, ginger and a delicate whiff of smoke. The mousse is very fine, and despite an enveloping nose, it’s razor clean on the palate. Here, the Le Mesnil terroir shines through tightly coiled acidity. Clean, pure layers of white grapefruit, chalk, and stone.
About the writer:
Christine Havens is the #1 wine reviewer on Vivino, the most downloaded and used wine app in the world. I first got to know Christine when she worked for Grands Vin Wine Merchants in Olympia, as marketing specialist and “social media songbird”. Christine also was winemaker and marketing director of Wawawai Canyon Winery in Pullman, Washington from 2003 to 2011. She is now devoting herself to wine writing and – my goodness – she has been experiencing great wines. Thanks Christine for your contribution to Wine-Chronicles.com!