Champagne Pierre Péters
“Pierre Péters is a reference point for the Côtes des Blancs and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger…. distinguished by their combination of Mesnil tension and fruit depth.” -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous
This Article Contains
The créme-de-la-créme of le Mesnil-sur-Oger, whether in the form of rare single vineyard wines or their excellent non-vintage blends. These are wines to drink and cherish.
(By Archimatth - File:Vignobles_France.svg, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37093378)
Côte des Blancs
- Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Grand Cru
- Oger, Grand Cru
- Avize, Grand Cru
- Cramant, Grand Cru
- Chouilly, Grand Cru
- Les Chetillons, a legendary vineyard in le Mesnil-sur-Oger, made famous by Pierre Pétrs who has been making it into a single vineyard wine since 1971. Makes wines with a special finesse and poise.
- Le Mont Joly, mid-slope near Les Chetillons in le Mesnil-sur-Oger and now its own single vineyard wine.
- Monts Martin, in le Mesnil-sur-Oger, a mid-slope vineyard near Les Chetillons, part of the L’Esprit blend
- Belles Voyes, in Oger, a lieu-dit and part of the L’Esprit blend
- Plantes d’Oger, in Oger, a lieu-dit and part of the L’Esprit blend
- La Fosse, in Avize, a lieu-dit and part of the L’Esprit blend
- Chemin de Châlons, in Cramant, a lieu-dit and part of the L’Esprit blend
- This was the northern edge of viticulture until recent decades
- 2nd most northern grape growing region in France, after Alsace, but much less sunshine and more rain.
- Harsh cold winters, short hot summers
- Rain in summer, snow in winter
- Very wet climate, although drought has been an issue in recent vintages because of climate change
- Viticulture is possible because of long, (hopefully) dry, temperate autumns to extend the growing season.
- Because ripeness was a struggle, grapes are usually grown for white wine, or in the last 150 years, sparkling wines.
- Variations between his sites are due to aspect, elevation and proximity to water, like the Marne river.
- Cool climate red varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier dominate, but the vast majority are destined for white or rosé sparkling wines.
- Wines are going to be high in acidity, light in body, low in alcohol, and often need extended aging of 18 months or more to temper the high acidity.
- Sugar is often added to wines at the end, called dosage, to help balance the high acidities from cold climate grapes.
- Chardonnay, 100%
- Adds finesse and freshness
- Often a signature lemon meringue pie flavor profile.
- If handled reductively, can impart white flower, ginger, green apple, quince and other primary flavors
- Oxidative or aged examples can be full of brioche, kernel, honey and truffle
- Does best in east facing sites with little to no top soil on chalk and other limestones
- The Chardonnay is planted selection massale, rather than clones
- Average vine age is 30 years
- Each parcel is farmed according to its needs
- Cover crops where appropriate
- Single parcel pressing and fermentation
- Cultured yeast was used, but he is experimenting with a pied de cuve from his vineyards.
- Fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel
- Cuvée de Reserve, their “entry-level” is a blend of the current vintages and 20 past vintages
- Wines see partial malolactic fermentation
- No pumps are used to move wine
Pierre Péters was founded in 1919 and Rodolphe took the reins in 2008. Their holdings are in the best Grand Cru the villages of Oger, Avize, Cramant and Chouilly; with Les Chétillons vineyard in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, as the grown jewel.
For most of its history, the individual vineyards in Champagne were ignored for the sake of the region as a whole. It's not hard to imagine why: the wines are inimitable. But some sites are meant to be celebrated, which is why 50 years ago, François Péters was the first grower to bottle his most prized single-vineyard, Les Chétillons, under the Special Club label.
This release was so successful that he continued bottling Les Chétillons separately, eventually under its own name. Today it is one of Champagne's most sought after wines. Those who have experienced the wine can attest to its greatness, but just what is it that makes it so great? Terroir, of course!
Smack in the middle is the Grand Cru of Les Mesnil-sur-Oger, there is little to no topsoil, making this a prime site for uber-chalky Chardonnay with bubbles. Rodolphe Péters describes the wines of Les Mesnil as "...gray — it's austere, stony, much more limestone than chalk".
Sure enough, if you are familiar with the village's other two famous single-site bottlings (Salon and Krug's Clos de Mesnil) you know these are wines that need plenty of time to show their true greatness.
Rodolphe is not one to rest on his laurels. He is always pursuing the next great challenge, farming with ever more care, crafting the next best wine. It's getting harder and hard to come by these beauties, so do not hesitate when you find out.
His wines are known for their glossy texture, walking the tightrope of linear focus, breathtaking acidity and tight mineral core that unfolds on your palate.
Pierre Peters Cuvée de Reserve is a study in chalk, the purest expression of the very taste and texture of minerality.
Pierre Péters, Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Brut, NV $74.99 $65.99
Pierre Péters, Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Brut, NV (1.5L) $159.99 $140.79
Pierre Péters, Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Brut, NV (3L) $400.00 $352.00
"Firm and minerally up front, with well-honed acidity and notes of smoke, chalk and oyster shell transitioning as they're integrated with a creamy range of crunchy pear, ripe green apple, pink grapefruit pith and almond skin flavors, which expand through the midpalate and lightly spiced finish. Elegant, but with good complexity and focus throughout. Disgorged May 2023. Drink now through 2028. 2,165 cases imported. 93 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Pierre Péters, Champagne Réserve Oubliée Brut, NV $127.99 $112.63
"This vinous Champagne is subtle at first, more about the plushly creamy texture and underlying minerality, but lightly mouthwatering acidity buoys notes of ripe white raspberry, salted almond, macerated cherry and hints of spring blossoms and blood orange zest to expand on the palate. A deftly knit and focused version, with a sense of finesse. Drink now through 2025. 95 cases imported. 93 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator