Fourth Generation Grower Champagne Pierre Péters and Bourgeois-Diaz

champagne bubblesThe world of Champagne has many styles and producers. It’s hard not to notice the huge, established houses making fabulous bubbles. I do enjoy several but am drawn to the lesser know, the smaller producer deciding what he or she wants to make and how. This is the essence of grower Champagne and two fourth-generation grower producers that are on my map: Pierre Péters Champagne and Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz.

This post is in conjunction with August’s French #Winophiles exploration of grower Champagne. Grower Champagne you ask? It’s when the person growing the grapes (the grower) owns the vineyard(s), makes and markets the Champagne at his or her own winery which he or she owns. The person grows, makes, labels, markets, and sells the Champagne owning every aspect.

Our host this month Martin Redmond has a nice grower Champagne overview on his blog ENOFLYZ Wine Blog including information on french terms associated with wine production.

And the third Saturday monthly- 8am PT, 11am ET, 17:00 in France- the #Winophiles join in a Twitter chat sharing topic discoveries. This month it’s on August 18th. You can join us to comment, ask questions, or just enjoy!

Biodynamic Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz

I met the charming Jérôme Bourgeois pouring a few of his Champagnes at a cozy wine shop in Bordeaux on a rainy November evening. The fourth generation of his family to make Champagne, he decided to leave a former career and join them; his first harvest was 2001. Jérôme watches over 6.5 hectares of vines: 3.5 h of Pinot Meunier, 2 of Pinot Noir and 1 of Chardonnay. First organic now biodynamic, his Crouttes-sur-Marne location in the Vallée de la Marne is a good one for Pinot Meunier. It’s a late budding, early ripening variety able to better handle this area prone to frost. However it’s not an easy grape to grow.

The Marne Valley Location

Champagne Map Marne Valley Côte des Blancs

Regions of Champagne ©Comité Champagne

Vallée de la Marne is one of the five Champagne growing-regions located northwest of the town of Épernay. The growing regions you can see in the above map are:

  • Montagne de Reims
  • Côte des Blancs
  • Vallée de la Marne
  • Côte de Sézanne
  • Aube (Côte de Bar) which is closer to Chablis but part of Champagne

The Bourgeois-Diaz vineyards are planted on mostly clay and limestone soils. The grapevines average 35 years of age overlooking the Marne River with southwesterly slope aspect. Farming biodynamically in this area poses difficulties due to heightened humidity from the river which can cause mold and rot.

champagne traditional coquard flat press

The Coquard shallow press in action. That’s Jérôme on the right shoveling grapes. Photo courtesy of Domaines Bourgeois-Diaz.

Jérome uses a traditional Coquard shallow press followed by primary fermentation in either stainless vats or old barrels with indigenous yeasts. He avoids sulfur and additives with an aim of producing harmonious, terroir expressive Champagne with vintage variation.

And here are two of his six wines tasted:

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Trois Cepages “3C” Extra Brut – $49

46% Pinot Meunier (adding fruitiness), 32% Pinot Noir (adding structure), 22% Chardonnay (giving freshness).Champagne Bourgeois-DiazOat straw in color with a fine mousse, these bubbles burst with quince, white nectarines and ginger; a blast of freshness, followed by lemon curd, oven fresh apple Tarte Tatin, and a thin layer of savory pastry notes on the palate. The finish is apple tinged and tangy with toasty biscuit brioche flavors. This Champagne carries complexity for a lively discussion! The dosage (amount of sugar solution added after disgorgement to top up bottles) is just 3g/L giving a pure, assertive character. Mark and I enjoyed our purchased bottle with a mixed platter.

The wine paired nicely with this platter: 4 types of cheese, nuts, hummus, chunky English Pea spread and more.

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée “M” Brut – $55

A blend of the best Pinot Meunier vinified with 35% used oak.

About one third of Champagne vineyards are planted to Pinot Meunier. I haven’t tasted a huge number of 100% Meunier Champagnes but am seeing more and more from the Marne Valley, the heartland for this grape.

This wine is very pale salmon in color. The nose is wonderfully complex with dried flowers, pear chutney, papaya, lemongrass, faint dough and smokey minerality. As with the first time I tasted it an infusion of red berries, dried flowers, citrus and fruit cake, the mouthfeel is round and frisky yet seriously structured. A rustically fresh and initially assertive Champagne that was fantastic with Beef Carpaccio. But I can image it delicious with a Tortilla Española slathered with caramelized onions too. Here is a previous article about Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz.

champagne food pairing

You either like Beef Carpaccio or you don’t! We’ve grown to love it yet I make it infrequently. Here it’s drizzled with a finishing extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano shards.

Next Up: Fourth Generation in the Côte des Blancs

Perpendicular to the Marne Valley and spreading from northeast to southwest lies the Côtes des Blancs. This is where Chardonnay thrives in the majority of the region on mostly chalky cliffs producing the “white of whites” or Blanc de Blancs. Pierre Péters Champagne is located here in Le Mesnil sur Oger.

And this is where Rodolphe Péters assumed control of his family’s 17-hectare estate in 2008 after twelve years of winemaking experience. He stresses environmentally sustainable viticulture in 100% of their vineyards, avoiding pesticides or herbicides and using cover crops to aid in soil health and vine vigor.

Tasting Pierre Péters Champagne

Pierre Péters Champagnes are all about mineral power, acidity and elegance. And as such these wines age gracefully.

Cuvée Millésimée L’Espirit de 2012, Blanc de Blancs – $79

Pierre Péters Champagne Le Mesnil sur Oger Cote des BlancsL’Espirit is only made in top vintages blending from four of their grand cru vineyards: Le Mesnil, Avize, Oger and Cramant. According to my local Caviste (wine shop owner) Le Mesnil usually makes up the largest percentage of Chardonnay in the blend and is responsible for the wine’s racy finesse and stoniness (think crushed rocks, flint and saline). And that finesse and mineral aspect wraps around your palate. After one sip a “Wow!” was the response from each of us.

To expand on that wow, the wine is a clear, pale gold; fabulous aromatic complexity with quince, pears, grapefruit, crushed oyster shells and almond; fine, dry mousse; maze of flavors include dried stone fruits, candied ginger, roasted almonds and a mineral driven backbone (think sea shells on a pier after it rains). I wished I’d purchased the magnum!

I brought this bottle to L’Clandestin, a newer Bordeaux restaurant you must try if visiting. Not only can you BYOB for a small amount, inventive and delicious food comes from the kitchen.

pierre péters champagne L'Espirit

L’Esprit paired sensationally with this starter- Tartare of salmon with beets, dill, fried juniper berries and rose petals at L’Clandestin Restaurant.

Grower Champagne With the French #Winophiles

Your bound to find champagne you want to try, recipes you want to make and learn a thing or two you didn’t know from this group:

17 thoughts on “Fourth Generation Grower Champagne Pierre Péters and Bourgeois-Diaz

    1. Lynn Post author

      Lucky you get Pierre Péters. They are harder to find in Bordeaux and sell out quickly. Hope you’re able to find Bourgeois-Diaz, worth the hunt!

      Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      Yes that tartar dish was quite tasty and I’m certain, based on seeing all the things you make, you’d love it!

      Reply
  1. Robin Bell Renken

    Your description of the “3C” was making my mouth water and then I saw the picture of your cheese plate. Pea spread! I need to add that to my cheese boards. I just wanted to dive into all those flavors. And I have fallen in love with Pinot Meunier Champagnes and will be searching for the “M” Cuvée. We enjoyed a Pierre Péters Rosé for Albane, so now I will need to find some of the Blanc de Blancs he is so known for. And…you have inspired me to do some tartars. I love them, but don’t do them at home. Time to add that to the repertoire!

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      I’ve more recently been trying 100% Pinot Meunier and also loving them. We enjoy that one but all of Bourgeois-Diaz bottles. I hope you’re able to find some! And the tartar, it was exception. I’ll bet you can recreate it. Thanks for stopping by Robin!

      Reply
  2. Jane

    Your pairings look and sound amazing! I have yet to try a 100% Pinot Meunier Champagne, putting that on my list. Already a fan of Pierre Péters, but the L’Espirit de 2012 I am sure was exceptional!

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      It truly was Jane. I have the exact date my caviste gets the latest offerings from PP so I can pick up a few. Hope you find a Meunier, I recommend Bourgeois-Diaz ;-D

      Reply
  3. Olivier

    Pierre Peters was recommended to me by someone and I wanted to buy a bottle at a caviste in Reims last weekend, but it was sold out… Now that I see how good it was, I’m even more sorry! Love the food pairings!

    Reply
  4. Gwendolyn Alley

    I was recommended Pierre Peters by a somm in LA and picked up a split which I opened recently and I’ll be writing about soon! YUM! So happy I can find it in LA! Great photos and interesting pairings to try maybe for Champagne Day! PS Thanks for all of the information — I’ll be sure to link to your post!

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      That’s great you got to taste a Pierre Peters champagne. Which one? I hear they are relatively easy to get in the US. Look forward to reading your upcoming Champagne Day post (October 19th)! And thanks in advance for the link 😉

      Reply
  5. Martha

    How did I miss this! Someone just told me I need to try Pierre Peters (looking for some) but your discussion of Bourgeois Diaz is intriguing, I’d love to learn more about this wine and taste it. Thanks for a nice article 😉

    Reply

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