Champagne Pierre Peters
Current winemaker Rodolphe Peters took over the running of this ‘Récoltant Manipulant’ in 2007 from his father. Rodolphe is the 4th generation winemaker here and the family originate from Luxemburg. Rodolphe’s grandfather started producing Champagne in 1912 and expanded the vineyard holdings from 7ha to 16 ha. 1990 marks the first historic vintage under the Pierre Peters label, where previously the family sold the grapes to larger producers.
Rodolphe is continuing a slow expansion of the property with the recent purchases of 1ha of vineyards in Avize. The total holding of the Pierre Peters property now comprises 20 ha of vineyards with 19 ha of these being planted to Chardonnay, showing the family’s passion for making Blanc de Blancs styles. Rodolphe is also making improvements in the winery, having just extended his cellar to allow for the use of gravity over pumping, which ensures the consistent flow of juice and avoids pickup of phenolics. In the vineyard, Rodolphe only works with non-toxic products. He believes that if his workers are healthy, so are the vines.
Rodolphe believes that the secret to Champagne does not lie in single vineyards or single tanks but in blending. His top wine, Les Chetillons, comes from three vineyards which are vinified separately and then carefully blended. Rodolphe takes great care with his ‘Vins Claires’, choosing to rest them in concrete tanks (including an experimental near egg-shaped tank which is great at keeping the lees in suspension) rather than stainless steel which allows them to ‘breathe’. Rodolphe is working hard to increase the quality of his reserve wines, which he deems to be very important. These reserve wines, dating to 1988, are stored in a large, 45hl oak vat made by Austrian cooper Stockinger. The oak is relatively neutral and does not impart a lot of oak flavour to the wines. Following trials, most vintages of Les Chetillons are now aged under cork rather than crown cap. This is a more laborious process requiring degorgement by hand but is becoming more common amongst high quality producers as the cork allows for longer ageing on lees. As of 2009, Rodolphe has also introduced the use of DIAM for his top wines to ensure the closure does not impact the taste of wine and is completely neutral.
The Pierre Peters style can be described as elegant, streamlined and linear with pure and mineral Chardonnay expression and trademark notes of nectarines and hazelnuts appearing in the top wine, Les Chetillons.