5 bottles & 5 questions Jim Peterson [usa]

Picture of Björnstierne Antonsson

Björnstierne Antonsson

Every Saturday TheChampagneSommelier will ask 5 questions about 5 coeur de bouteilles to friends and Champagne lovers from near and far. This week we took a bubbly chat with Champagne lover & retired U.S. Air Force officer Jim Peterson. Merci Jim !

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


Jim Peterson

I am a retired U.S. Air Force officer who mainly flew the A-10 fighter jet during my 22 years of military service. I have ties to the wine business going back over 20 years and I am an avid wine collector. My extensive wine knowledge includes travel to many wine regions while living in Europe, tastings led by Master Sommeliers and winemakers, along with ongoing personal wine exploration and self-study. I am also the wine writer for the Texan Magazine, texanmag.com, and I continue to cultivate a following on my Instagram account, @tx_wine_pilot, where I taste and report on wines from vintage to value. I recently visited Champagne for the third time as part of an immersive experience. This amazing trip included visits, tastings, lunches, and dinners at several Champagne houses. The main goal of my wine writing is to help readers get excited to experience the wide world of wines. I just want everyone to love wine as much as I do. For these questions I thought I would challenge myself to only choose champagnes from my collection.

[follow Jim on Instagram here]

Which Champagne would you treat your best friend?

‘My best friend from college is not exactly a wine connoisseur, so I would want to serve something that would create a sense of awe by shocking the palate. The bottle that comes to mind is the Frerejean Frères ‘VV26 Blanc de Blancs’. The VV26 has a beguiling nose of brioche and lemon curd, and it just attacks the palate in such a way that it makes you take notice. It is a unique champagne perfect for a rather unique friendship.’

Which Champagne would You treat your lover?

‘I confess this is a bit hypothetical for me at the moment, but for a lover I would want a wine that evokes romance in every aspect. I can think of no better bottle than the 2008 Billecart-Salmon ‘Elisabeth Salmon Cuvée’, whose namesake met Nicolas-François Billecart in 1818 and fell in love. The Billecart-Salmon Champagne house was formed out of this romance and marriage. Is there a better way to introduce romance than with the delicate aromatics of rose petals and red berries, followed by flavors of red cherry and strawberry. It’s like bottled happiness.’

Which Champagne would You treat your boss?

‘I am well known for hosting after-work happy hours where I am always serving up something new and interesting. With my company’s ethics guidelines, that’s about the only way I could serve a champagne to my boss and not get in trouble! I love finding obscure grower champagnes to taste, and Champagne Barnaut from the village of Bouzy has some fantastic Grand Cru wines that happen to be incredible values. I would pull the Barnaut ‘Authentique’ Grand Cru Brut Rosé. With its toasty nature and dark fruit flavors it is a perfect accompaniment to a happy hour charcuterie to sip and nosh while we all trade stories and enjoy shared laughter.’

Which Champagne would You treat yourself?

If I was forced to pull one bottle of champagne from my collection as a treat for myself, it would have to be the Krug ‘Rosé 24ème Édition’. I splurged when I purchased it, so it might as well be a treat for me, right? I would still want to share it with a wine friend or two though. As I like to say, ‘How great can a bottle really be if you’re the only one tasting it?’

Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?

‘Let’s start with the dream guest. Mark Twain is my favorite American author, and I can think of no one better to sit with and sip champagne while chatting about life. He is quoted as saying, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” So I would start with the 2008 Rare Champagne, and then move on to the 2007 Paul Bara ‘Annonciade’. If a bottle each was not enough, then I would pull the 2015 Marc Hébrart ‘Rive Gauche’ to finish the night – or just grab a new bottle if needed.’

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.

Mark Twain

[ what piece of music would you listen to drinking wine with Your dream guest ?]

I would have Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony playing lightly in the background so as not to distract us from the conversation. It was once said that with the Manfred Symphony Tchaikovsky set the world on fire and watched it burn. That is very similar to what Mark Twain did in the realm of literature in so many ways, so I believe it would be a great choice of music.

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