Champagne Day: Pierre Peters Les Chetillons 2005

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Champagne preferences are usually a question of style. From sweet and fruity to brioche, lees and oak to austere and mineral driven, Champagne today offers the greatest range of wines it has at any point in its history. On the one hand there are the pioneering producers in the Aube who are making wines with no oak influence that are entirely fruit driven with no dosage. As a style of wine that is high in acid, this approach is not for everyone, as many prefer the softness and richness that arises out of the higher dosage, oak aging and heavy autolysis of the major houses. Then there are those Champagnes that are perfectly poised to please most anyone.

A Style for Everyone

Pierre Peters is a grower-producer that owns all its own vineyards in Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Avize and Cramant. As such, this is a Chardonnay house, focusing almost exclusively on blanc-de-blancs Champagne. Raised in steel with temperature controlled ferments and then aged on the lees, and, after bottle aging, disgorged and aided with a small dosage, these are Champagnes that bridge the racy mineral style with the brioche-laden silky style of Champagne.

One of Champagne’s Great Wines

While all of Pierre Peters’ Champagnes are good, the Les Chetillons – Pierre Peters’ top wine – is what puts this winery amongst the upper echelon. Made entirely with old-vine fruit (45 years) from a small lieu-dit in Mesnil-sur-Oger, this wine is pure Mesnil and the apex of great blanc-de-blancs.

The nose is beautifully focused with chalk, mineral, light brioche notes with green apple and lime. This Champagne has near perfect body, with a textural perfection and integration of flavour, alcohol and acid that is extremely rare in Champagne: there is nothing hard, austere, or awkward here. This is very low in pH, and so quite fresh, but it feels easy to drink and does not need food to balance it out (though it is obviously quite complimentary of many foods). There is superb density and fruit quality here, with the lime and chalk notes continuing on the mineral loving palate. The weight of the mid-palate outclasses most Champagne, as does the impressive length.

While this is a beautiful wine now, it is clear to me that it will continue to develop into one of the world’s great bottles. That potential actually makes this wine a value proposition for Champagne – if you are lucky enough to find it.

Excellent+
$145 at Kits wine

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