The tasting group in Stockholm met for yet another great tasting this week – Dom Pérignon Rosé @ The Champagne Bar by Richard Juhlin.
Me and Richard has visited Richard Geoffroy on numerous occasions to taste Dom Pérignon Rosé. Read more about it.
Chef de Caves at Dom Pérignon Richard Geoffroy has created a new expressive way for one of the champagne world’s most famous brands: Plénitude by Dom Pérignon – P2. Richard Geoffroy created the most persistent and concentrated wine since the legendary 1976. Most of enjoyable of them all are those unforgettable Oenothèque wines. It sounds dandy, but both vintage wines and Dom Pérignon should always be consumed in magnum under the Oenothèque-labeling or as Grand Vintage Collection giving the wines full justice.
Dom Pérignon Oenothèque was the last child in the DP-family. On the initiative of Richard Geoffroy it is released in a limited numbered of old wellkept bottles of Moet & Chandon’s cellars in various stages of maturity. The wine can be newly disgorged, but it is no rule. However, what is guaranteed is that the wines are in the best possible condition and that they probably behave more youthfully than bottles that have been on the market for some time. This treasure is now graced by a luxurious black label in unmistakable DP-style.
PLÉNITUDE by DOM PÉRIGNON – P2
In the re-branding of Oenotheque series, Dom Perignon re-launched the vintage of 1998, but now under the new name ‘P2’. The 1998 was first launched back in 2005. The debut of the new ‘P2’ took place in the US, Hong Kong, Japan and of course in France. The new strategy for this cuvee préstige is to retain a greater quantity in stock to create a more complex Champagne over time and in larger quantities. Richard Geoffroy’s idea is to be able to meet different versions of the same Champagne at different stages of its life. Or as he puts it: ‘windows of opportunity or plenitudes which, once the wine is disgorged, can represent different expressions of the same vintage’.
Richard Geoffroy believes that the champagne has three plénitudes (phases). The first is ‘harmony’, which occurs after about 8 years after harvest. The second plénitude occurs after about 15 years, of which the wine has been in contact with the lees for 12 years. In the second plénituden one searches for the pinnacle of energy and intensity when the Champagne as Geoffroy means is showing up ‘the wine in high-definition’. The third stage occurs between 30 to 40 years after harvest, when the champagne has been on its lees for at least 20 years. ‘P3’ is more balanced and complex are the other two stages. The first versions of the ‘P3’ is expected to be launched in late 2014 with the vintages 1970 & 1982.
With growing competition from other prestigious brands and with the brilliant Richard Geoffroy at the controls during the 90s, Dom Pérignon is back in brilliant shape and wines from the great vintages like 1990 and 1996, a concentration that is not far behind from the 64’s and 61’s The actual style is ultra-sophisticated with an incredibly silky softness combined with a toasted fireworks backed by exotic fruitiness in a medium rich body. When Dom Pérignon is at its best one can find hints of mushroom forest, cream, peach and an abundance of roasted coffee beans and nuttiness.
THE STHLM TASTING
2003 DOM PÉRIGNON ‘CUVÉE DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 70PN 30CH | RJpoints 93(96)
TASTING NOTE An insanely awesome wine where Richard Geoffroy stretched the limits to the maximum. Can you really make such a burgundy scented Rosé champagne? Will not Rousseau and Ponsot become envious? The roundness and the velvety structure settles like the most wonderful Persian carpet on the palate. Buy and follow this historic wine which might constitute the eve of something new.
2002 DOM PÉRIGNON ‘CUVÉE DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 60PN 40CH | RJpoints 93(96)
TASTING NOTE An obviously wine that one never need to ask why it is so great! It just innately know that it has an inherent greatness leaving the rest behind. What to say? Some vintages of this treasure is simply amazing. The color is always the same deep red appearance. The mousse foams up in a sensational way. The entire wine breathe seriousness and grand vinosity. Here is everything you can ask a really big red Burgundy(!).
2000 DOM PÉRIGNON ‘CUVÉE DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 60PN 40CH | RJpoints 93(94)
TASTING NOTE Sensual masterpiece to make love to!!! The color shiftings, the caressing taste the tickling tones and the light seductive aromas dancing beautifully in harmony. Hardly a really big wine, but magically enjoyable.
1995 DOM PÉRIGNON ‘CUVÉE DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ P2’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 60PN 40CH | RJpoints 94(96)
TASTING NOTE As usual, Richard Geoffroy—like his predecessor—has succeeded in creating a wine that has seductive suppleness, complexity, and concentration in one and the same wine. In that sense, Dom Pérignon has a greatness that no other wines can really match, excepting La Tâche in Burgundy. This sensual, flower-meadow-scented, cream pastry wine needs many years to itself to enter into the loveliest, fully matured stage spiced with exoticism, but what does that matter? Let us be ravished by its hedonistic charm and drink the drops of pleasure in its tender youth.
1993 DOM PÉRIGNON ‘CUVÉE DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ OENOTHÈQUE’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 63PN 37CH | RJpoints 94(95)
TASTING NOTE Super-slim and light with a sleek mineral-driven approach, and bright color. A beautiful piece of jewelry that might lack a bit of concentration, but has lots of nice pine nuts roasting together with the salty minerality and entices to big gulps.
RJ ON DP Dom Pérignon – the name alone makes most of us break out in a delightful smile. When we think of this 17th-century monk from Hautvillers – so often pointed out as the father of Champagne – we either regard him with historical reverence, or associate his name with the proudest of all wine labels and everything else that follows in its glamorous, sparkling wake. Just imagine all the classic movie scenes that have been sweetened by a bottle of Dom Pérignon. Bond movies usually spring to mind. Countless times I’ve sat and sighed over agents with a license to kill: villains and exquisite women in seductively luxurious surroundings, all revelling in icy Dom Pérignon. Most champagne enthusiasts have their favourite scene. Mine is when Scaramanga, the man with the golden gun, shoots the cork off a bottle carried on a tray by his dwarfish servant Nic-Nack, along a now-famous Thai beach. The most comical scene must be when Sean Connery is served a 1957 Dom Pérignon, a vintage that never existed. Brilliant research!
Back in 1936, Moët & Chandon’s marketing director Robert-Jean de Vogüé could not possibly have imagined what he had done when he dreamed up the idea of the world’s first prestige champagne – a champagne with a sky-high price that was supposed to be even better than the vintage wine, along with a spectacular look that won respect and prompted extravagant enjoyment. Once he got the idea, Vogüé of course couldn’t wait to sell Dom Pérignon. The problem was, if the champagne was supposed to be as exceptional as he claimed, it should be at least 15 years old. The only solution was to bring out Moët’s foremost 1921 vintage and decant the wine into the new bottles. This “transversage process” was not especially kind to the wine, and not until the 1943 vintage, or possibly the 1937, was the wine actually decanted straight into the curvy bottle. This means that all tasting of the first vintages of Dom Pérignon are more of a curiosity than of pure pleasure. Rather unsentimentally, I look more to the quality of the wine than anything else, so it is natural for me to choose instead this era’s usual vintages.
But what about the quality seen from a historic perspective? If you disregard the period of transversage, through the years the wine has been strikingly consistent both in style and quality. The 60s should probably be regarded as the golden age, with a slight overproduction slump in the 70s and 80s. With hardening competition from the other prestige brands, and with the genial Richard Geoffroy at the helm during the 90s, Dom Pérignon is back in brilliant form. The wines from the great vintages, such as 1990 and 1996, have a concentration that is not far behind the 64s and 61s.
The style itself is ultra-sophisticated, with an amazingly silky softness combined with toasted fireworks, backed up by an exotic fruitiness in a medium body. When Dom Pérignon is at its best I find notes of forest morelles, cream, peach and an overabundance of roasted coffee beans and nuttiness. Dom Pérignon Rosé is an even more exquisite and rare product that has been molded in a similar form, though its full-bodied shape leans more to strawberry or orange, where the whiter somewhat lighter variety becomes exotic and toasted. Dom Pérignon Oenothèque is the latest child in this distinguished family. At Richard Geoffroy’s initiative they now release a restricted number of old, well-preserved bottles from Moët’s own cellar in different stages of maturity. The wine can be newly disgorged, but it isn’t a fixed thing. What is guaranteed, however, is that the wines are in the best possible condition, and that they most likely will act a little more youthfully than the bottles that have been out on the market for a while. This treasure is now decorated with a luxurious black label in unmistakable style.
And speaking of style … In an age when PR people constantly want to minimalize labels and change both bottle design and packaging, Dom Pérignon stands there like a Sophia Loren of the champagne world, unchanged and as timelessly sexy. The balance conveyed in the subtly curvaceous shape of the bottle, paired with an olive-green label in the shape of a coat of arms adorned with cursive writing, is still as magical as ever. Since 1970 the wine itself is made exclusively in steel tanks and the grapes are mainly Pinot Noir from Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzenay and Hautvillers, as well as Chardonnay in approximately equal amounts from Cramant and Mesnil.
It is not without pride that I make the claim that recently I most likely became the first person in the world to have tasted every vintage of the world’s most famous wine. I filled in the last blanks in August 2006 during an extremely comprehensive DP-tasting at the eminent Søllerød Kro north of Copenhagen, Denmark. A private Danish enthusiast had been collecting wines for 12 years. The whole engagement was extremely well-run and those of us in the pan-Scandinavian tasting group enjoyed two wonderful days of enormous amounts of first-class food and Dom Pérignon in such large quantities that the film “La Grande Bouffe” came to mind. In order to survive the numerous orgiastic gastronomic excesses, I jogged two laps around one of Zealand’s largest lakes between indulgences.
The only unfortunate thing was the condition of the older wines. Never before have I been so convinced of how important are the storing conditions of older wines. In Denmark, where the open market has had free play for a long time, old rare wines have frequently changed hands and wine-dealers often store their treasures on the shelf at room temperature for years on end. Down on the continent, wines have usually been allowed to lie still in the same cellar year after year before being drunk, and are therefore in much better condition.
The horrible truth was that all of the wines older than 1964 were in poor condition! This time the winners were found exclusively in the 60s and 70s. Most impressive were almost all of the gigantic 76s, closely followed by the textbook vintages 1964, 1966, 1969 and the elusively seductive 1971. The 1980s felt exactly as weak as the high yields let on, and the shake-up during 1990 and 1996 was difficult to miss.
Dom Pérignon Rosé with food?!