2014 Pierre Peters, Cuvee Millesime L’Esprit, Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Champagne, France.
One of the greatest and most beautiful grower producer Champagne houses, Pierre Peters, which was founded back in 1919, is now run by the fourth generation vigneron and cellar master Rodolphe Péters, who took over this prestigious estate in the southern Côte des Blancs in 2008 and has taken these Champagne(s) to new heights. Peters has 18 hectares of vines to work with, all in Grand Cru plots and interestingly he only has Chardonnay in his vineyards, mostly in the legendary Les Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru, maybe the most important Chardonnay vineyard in the world, after Montrachet! Rodolphe also has tiny parcels in Oger, Avize and Cramant and they form part of this gorgeous 2014 100% Chardonnay Cuvee Millesime L’Esprit, which I was lucky enough to taste with him recently in San Francisco while he was on the Skurnik and Terry Theisse Champagne tour. According to Peters, the Le Mesnil-sur-Oger cru has a very special Chardonnay clone which gives a penetrating bouquet even when the actual content in a cuvée is small. This is clearly evident in this L’Esprit, which is amazing in detail and aromatic, making it really stand out. Mesnil’s wines, Peters adds, like those of Salon especially in my opinion, are often shy and acidic when young only to explode in a burst of color and sensational pleasures, which anyone who has had older vintage stuff from this famous terroir can tell you is beyond doubt, but Pierre Peters somehow balances that tendency with more youthful luxuriousness. While the 2008 and 2012 vintage’s get well deserved hype and attention, I found these 2014’s over performing, especially this Cuvee Millsime L’Esprit, which has so much verve and energy, while still being opulent and compelling with texture.
The Cuvee Millsime L’Esprit Blanc de Blancs comes from four special Grand Cru parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, Oger and Cramant with Rodolphe using 100% stainless steel for fermentation and aging here with partial malo-lactic (85%) and 48 months of lees aging, resulting in a Brut Champagne that has brisk, racy and a citrus dominated palate with a fine almost electric like tiny bubbled mousse that while zippy adds a creamy rich feel on the finish. There is a lot going on here and this grower fizz has layers of lemon, white peach, crisp apple and golden fig fruits, loads of crunchy mineral, wet stones, brioche/dougy/yeasty notes and a light, but heavenly floral bouquet. This is a sleeper in the Pierre Peters latest collection of disgorgements and one that looks to have great potential to age, I love the more intense style, like this one shows, especially as it does now, but certainly it will gain a more hedonistic character over time and develop more richness and density, which I then will appreciate just as much. This L’Esprit is wonderfully impressive and expressive Champagne and it’s Le Mesnil base shines brightly with it’s regal and unique nature clearly making it’s presence felt, though most of Pierre Peter’s fans will not want to miss the more full bodied and lengthy Les Chétillons, tete cuvee made from only the best Le Mesnil old vine grapes, with the 2012 being available and very much a favorite with Champagne enthusiasts, it is especially delicious with it’s 72 months on the lees, it is going to be a rewarding treasure in cellar for those savvy collectors. I must also says, the basic non-vintage Cuvee de Reserve Brut is an awesome value with it’s ripe 2016 vintage base and selection of 22 older vintages blended in! It’s always mind blowing to taste through the lineup of Pierre Peters Champagne, and I adored each and every one of these new releases, but I kept going back to this 2014 Cuvee Millsime L’Esprit, it clearly made a riveting impression on me, with its majestic purity, I am convinced it’s something to chase down.
($93 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive