Thursday Vinopolpick- November 21

 November 21, 2013

Champagne’s King of Chardonnay

The Pierre Péters Champagne bottlings are regularly rated by critics as “outstanding” and are universally considered one of the top growers in Champagne. Founded in 1919 under the name Camille Péters, the Pierre Peters estate was one of the first growers in Champagne to start bottling and selling wine under their own label, and by 1929 became a full Récoltant-Manipulant, managing every step in their champagne’s prodution from vineyard to bottle.  By 1944, Camille’s son Pierre had taken over and renamed the domaine, increasing production and vineyard holdings and focusing on foreign markets. Pierre’s son François began managing the estate in 1967, further expanding the domaine and increasing export sales in the US.
Rodolphe Péters, Francois’ son, took over the reins of this venerable estate in the southern Côte des Blancs in 2008, becoming the fourth generation to lead the estate. Today, the Pierre Peters estate consists of 18 hectares of vineyards, predominantly in the grand cru of Les Mesnil-sur-Oger along with smaller holdings in several other grand crus (Oger, Avize and Cramant). These great terroirs, all Grand Cru, all Chardonay, are located a few miles south of Epernay and lay on a chalk outcrop, providing plenty of water to the vines. The hillside vineyards are oriented to the east, protecting them against the westerly winds. Péters viticulture is environmentally conscious without being dogmatic. Very sensitive to the quality of their vineyards, Rodolphe uses sustainable farming methods and aims to produce the best grapes, naturally. The very simplistic wine-making and low dosage add a further dimension and complexity to the wine that make it a perfect drink for pretty much anytime of the year and day.
The Domaine has maintained, and perhaps even improved, quality throughout its generations, and the enthusiasm for their wines continues to grow.  The top wine of Pierre Péters is the “Les Chetillons” or “Cuvée Spéciale”, considered to be one of the best single-vineyard champagnes of the Côte des Blancs. It comes from three small parcels in the vineyard of Les Chétillons that were acquired by the family in 1930. One of the most highly-regarded sites within Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, these vines in the oldest plot of 80 acres are 68 years old, with the rest of the vines averaging 50 years old. The Cuvée Spéciale has been pure Chétillons ever since it was created in 1971. At that time, it was sold as a Spécial Club wine till François Péters left the Club in 1981. 2000 was the first vintage of Cuvée Spéciale to state the name of the vineyard on the label, Les Chetillons. Each parcel is vinified separately and blended to produce a single vineyard vintage. Chétillons offers a chance to witness one of Champagne’s best growers working in one of the greatest sites for Chardonnay. The results are gorgeous, as noted wine writer Peter Liem states, “there’s no denying this wines’ quality.”
Pierre Peters Reserve Blanc de Blancs NV 750ml ($59.95) $44 special 9 bottles left
Burghound 93 points ”A stunningly elegant nose of pure floral, Granny Smith apples, spice and freshly sliced lemon complements to perfection the intense and equally pure flavors that possess excellent punch like remain delicate and ultra-refined on the balanced and persistent finish. The supporting mousse displays a very find bead and the overall impression is one of subtlety and grace. Not only is this a wonderful effort but the value it offers it beyond stunning.” BH. Disgorged August 2012
Pierre Peters Reserve Blanc de Blancs NV Magnum ($149.95) $119 special 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 92 points ”The NV Brut Cuvee de Reserve is striking. It shows fabulous cut and definition in its fruit, expressive aromatics all backed up by plenty of underlying structure. A bright, mineral laced finish rounds things out in style. This is superb entry-level wine from one of Champagne’s top producers. The Cuvee Reserve is 100% Chardonnay. This year’s release is based on 2008 (60%), with reserve wines going back to 1988, precisely 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1995-2007 (except 1999 and 2003).“
Pierre Peters Rose for Albane NV ($89.95) $69 special 2+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer (on the Dec 2010 disgorgement) 93 points “(60% chardonnay and 40% pinot meunier saignee; mostly from 2008; disgorged December, 2010):  Bright orange.  Intensely perfumed bouquet of blood orange, minerals and pungent flowers, with a hint of white pepper emerging with air.  Fresh, linear and precise, with very good clarity and depth to its tangy red fruit and citrus pith flavors.  Finishes taut and long, with orange zest and mineral notes.”
Pierre Peters L’Esprit de 2006 ($79.95) $69 special 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2006 Brut Millesime Cuvee L’Esprit de 2006 is a blend of fruit from parcels in Mesnil, Oger, Avize and Cramant, all four Grand Cru villages. It is a sensational wine laced with green pears, apples, lemon, white flowers and spices. The balance of ripeness and tautness is remarkable in this powerful, intense wine. I tasted the 2006 for the first time during a visit to the winery about a year and a half ago, and immediately purchased a case of magnums. The wine is every bit as remarkable today. Dosage is 5.3 grams per liter. Disgorged January 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026.’
Pierre Peters Cuvee Speciale Les Chetillons 2005 750ml ($119.95) $99 special 4+ cases available 
Pierre Peters Cuvee Speciale Les Chetillons 2005 1.5L ($249.95) $199 special 10 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “made from fruit grown in a single site in Le Mesnil sur Oger; aged for six years on its lees and disgorged in June of 2012):  Bright yellow-gold.  Heady aromas of fresh nectarine, lemon, honeysuckle and ginger are complemented by deeper notes of smoky lees and brioche.  Bright citrus zest and quince flavors give way to richer melon and pit fruits with air while maintaining impressive verve and cut.  Shows a chewy, dense character without coming off as heavy.  Really clings to the palate on the back end, finishing spicy and quite long.  I’d have no guilt about polishing off a bottle right now.”
Pierre Peters Cuvee Speciale Les Chetillons 2006 750ml ($149.95) $109 special 6+ cases available
Pierre Peters Cuvee Speciale Les Chetillons 2006 1.5L ($279.95) $249 special 7 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “Another brilliant wine, the 2006 Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons is shaping up to be a stunner. Today it seems to have the density and power of the 2002 but in a more linear style that brings to mind some of the energy of the 2004. Not bad, to say the least. Over time, hints of almonds and white flowers begin to emerge, but the 2006 remains a powerful Champagne built on explosive structure. Readers who can be patient will be rewarded with a stunning Champagne.”