Grower Champagne Club – May 2012

NV Pehu-Simonet, Transparence, Extra-Brut, Grand Cru
Last fall we were thrilled when Champagne producer David Pehu, of Pehu-Simonet, visited us in the shop. Thrilled not only because we got to meet him and taste through some of his Champagnes, but also because he had such a wonderful reaction to our shop, where he was delighted to see so many of his friends’ wines on our shelves. We put his “Selection” in our November club. Now we’re delighted to present another wine he poured for us that day, his “Transparence” — a non-vintage, extra-brut. The estate is based in the Grand Cru village of Verzenay, in the Montagne de Reims. Pehu has other holdings as well, but he sells off some of that fruit, bottling only Grand Cru Champagne. Terry Theise, who represents the wines, says that Pehu’s Champagnes aren’t the most hedonistic in his book, but they are definitely among the most characterful. The Transparence is a 70-30 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from all 2007 fruit. Pehu does not let his wines go through malo-lactic fermentation (where the tart, malic acid is converted to softer lactic acid, in effect, softening the wine), choosing to place the focus on the inherent finesse of the wine. But when he was in the shop, he confessed quietly that this particular bottling of the Transparence had a little “mistake.” ML (as it’s called) began spontaneously, so he adapted and went from there, adjusting as needed, and letting it become the wine it was meant to be. The result is this generous, savory, and complex Champagne. It is very dry, but also surprisingly warm and round for an extra-brut, with the fullness of the Pinot Noir really shining through. The distributor just lowered the price on this Champagne, so it is now down to $52.50 (from $60). Enjoy!