Now available in the UK at Fareham Wine Cellar.
Champagne Pierson Whitaker is a very small, boutique producer of Champagne. The annual production is around 30,000 bottles in total which, in Champagne terms, is tiny and most of the work in the vineyards and cellar is done by hand. Pierson Whitaker is located in the Cotes des Blancs. We first became aware of the owner of Champagne Pierson Whitaker, Didier Pierson, when he became the first Champenois to release an English sparkling wine with Meonhill, near Droxford in Hampshire. You can read more about Meonhill wines here and here. Back to Champagne…..
Location – the Cotes des Blancs
Champagne Pierson Whitaker is based in the village of Avize in the heart of the Cotes des Blancs wine growing region of Champagne. The village of Avize is located to the south of Epernay and all of the village’s vineyards are classified as 100% Grand Cru in the Champagne vineyard classification – the Échelle des Crus (literally translated as ladder of growth). The Échelle des Crus is a system for setting the prices of grapes, the higher the rating, the more you a grower can charge for their grapes.
There are 6 villages in the Cote des Blancs that are all classified as Grand Cru – Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Oiry. The Cotes des Blancs is a mainly east-facing slope planted with Chardonnay, some 95% of total plantings and provides Chardonnay (the white grape from which it takes its name) for many famous vintage Champagnes and prestige cuvées from the large Champagne houses. Champagnes from the Cotes des Blancs are characterised by light and delicate aromas, finesse and elegance.
About Champagne Pierson Whitaker
Champagne Pierson Whitaker was founded in 1992 by Champenois Didier Pierson, who inherited his vineyard from his grandparents, and his then English girlfriend Imogen Whitaker. Sadly they are no longer together but Didier is firmly at the helm of the business and the name Champagne Pierson Whitaker remains. Didier Pierson has Champagne in his blood, there are 5 Champagne houses within his immediate family, and he spent his youth moving from one to another learning all aspects of the Champagne business from the viticulture through to sales.
Champagne Pierson Whitaker
Reserve 1er Cru Brut NV
This is the house’s main Champagne, although they also produce a Rosé, Blanc de Blancs and a Vintage. It is a 50 / 50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir is sourced from Didier’s brother’s vineyard in the neighbouring village of Grauves. Grauves is rated as 1er Cru 99% on the Échelle des Crus, hence the wine is a 1er Cru and not a Grand Cru. A lot of Cotes des Blanc producers make mainly Blanc de Blancs wines, but Didier is a believer in the idea of “finesse” and loves experimenting with the “assemblage” which is why he adds Pinot Noir.
The Reserve Brut is a non-vintage blend of three different vintage Champagnes which are all aged for 5 or 6 years on the lees. This extended period of ageing allows the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to reach their full potential. The dosage is 9g/L. Annual production of the Brut Reserve is about 15,000 bottles.
Champagne Pierson Whitaker Brut Reserve 1er Cru is a bright, light golden colour with a fine bead of bubbles. It has an intense nose with floral, acacia and citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemon and orange) aromas. The palate is powerful and round with a good mouth-filling texture and a persistent mousse. It has hint of anise with chalky minerality and has a finely balanced, clean, dry finish with good acidity and length. A Champagne for all occasions!
Didier is a busy man, not content with producing his Champagne and Meonhill Wines, he has also been taken on as a wine making consultant at Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire, located not fare from Meonhill. It seems that he will get to know the roads between Hampshire and Avize very well.