Grower Champagne Club – November 2011

NV Pehu-Simonet, Selection Brut, Grand Cru
We have never felt a need to question our commitment to carrying only Grower Champagnes. But we occasionally have reason to feel particularly proud of our decision. Such was the case a few weeks ago when David Pehu, winemaker at Pehu-Simonet, was in our shop to pour some of his Champagnes for us (one of which was this one). As he looked over the selection on our shelf, he kept noting, “that’s a friend of mine, that’s a friend of mine…” Perhaps we impressed him as much as he impressed us! But back to his wines. His estate is in Verzenay, but he has Grand Cru vineyards in a number of sites, including Verzenay and Sillery, from which this wine was sourced. It is an elegant and classy blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. While many growers let their wines to go through malo-lactic fementation, wherein the tart malic acid is converted to softer lactic acid, Pehu-Simonet does not, finding that not doing so adds to the finesse and fruitiness of their cuvées. Even without the softening of ML, this one has pretty notes of flowers and pears on the nose, and a nice, creamy texture, balanced by firm minerality and a fresh, zippy finish. And somewhere in there are those beguiling dark flavors of the Pinot Noir. It’s a lovely, balanced Champagne with just the right amount of depth and complexity. It is $57 and is drinking well now, or it could age a few more years.