NV Pierre Peters, Champagne Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Rose for Albane
This is where bias comes in handy. Without one, this review is simple: don't buy this wine. You know I hate talking about prices, but I know from working in retail and pairing wines for several years what people expect for their money. This isn't it. It's not elegant. Not inspiring. It probably won't get you laid... ladies. Yet, Pierre Peters is quite easily one of the very best Champagne producers on the market today. I don't know anyone who would put their chips in against that bet. Dollar for dollar, their 100% chardonnay Champagne--as pricey as it is--is a value. And, somehow, it's exactly the opposite of this rose. Trade white for pink--okay, that much is obvious. But also barter the sweet, regal aromatics of the blanc de blancs for something sharp, steely, phenolic. And swap the clean, mountain air palate for something that feels more like the rocks at the bottom of the hill. Downstream from a zinc mill. But bias gets me through. Reminds me how much care and finesse goes into every bottling. It makes me wonder just how wild the grapes for this rose were. Some maybe overripe. Some a little green. So confusing that the house yeast hardly knew what to do. Not fermented, subdued. If you ever can taste it, the fruit's actually beautiful. Don't get me wrong. This is one bold, deeply flavorful wine that I'd use just like I'd use any still pinot meunier--maybe with some sockeye salmon, but really best with country ham or beef sashimi (David Burke, are you listening?). It's yet another sparkling that speaks to the problem with "non-vintage" wines. Not that they're any less--but that the labeling's not clear enough. While many have a short shelf-life, others, like this Peters, need some time to age. But without a bottling date, we have no idea how long, or if they've aged already. And, sadly, this one's just not there yet. But yours might be. And, yes, I'm wondering the same thing. Who the hell is Albane? An old friend, I'm sure. A loved, but rarely seen one. Caring, but perhaps too busy to talk to for too long. Cher, Albane. Arretes. Calme-toi. Il y a tant de temps. We've got so long to go.