Le Mesnil sur Oger Pierre Peters & JL Vergnon Vins Clairs & Champagne
Vins Clairs 2011 tasting and blending Le Mesnil sur Oger 19 January 2012
Rodolphe Peters from Champagne Pierre Peters and Christophe Constant at Champagne JL Vergnon
Following Rodolphe and Christophe in August and September 2011 from trying grapes in vineyards to determine picking dates, harvest, pressings and tastings of cuvées in tank, it is exciting to taste the corresponding vins clairs nearly five months later. Still wine trials prior to blending are the final steps before bottling for second fermentation, and waiting at least a few years to see their progress again.
Conversation usually turns quickly to Burgundy each time I meet Rodolphe Peters. From the age, site and exposition of his vineyards, to the texture of his wines, there is always a comparison to the climats of Burgundy, the structure of Chablis (he calls his solera back to 1988 of reserve wines ‘le Chablis’), and the texture and taste of Puligny. Le Mesnil and Le Montrachet.
9 tanks were sampled from 4 grand cru Côte des Blancs villages Oger 100%, Avize and Cramant already blended together, and Le Mesnil sur Oger. Five vineyards from the top, middle and lower slopes of Le Mesnil express the Burgundian link. Traditionally the wines all went through malolactic fermentation, however, today depending on grape ripeness, not all do. The final three were old vines (67+ years old) , younger vines (46+ years old), and young vines picked and stored in separate tanks. The photos show Rodolphe doing a blending trial of his preferred of the three best blends he thinks will soon be the final assemblage of “Les Chétillons” 2011.
Christophe Constant has tightened his bow to seemingly breaking point but has hit targets seemingly out of range for Le Mesnil. The first and second tailles are separated immediately from the cuvées and blended together in one tank to form the base of the Vergnon NV. The cuvées that form his philosophical suite of titles range from storage in stainless steel tanks to 100% new oak barrels. Le Mesnil sur Oger in 100% new oak, no MLF and O dosage. A lot to talk about, over his 100% Mesnil vintage Conversation.