One Champagne a week

August 9th, 2017, Leave a comment

Dom Pérignon 1996

Dedicated to all lions in my life

Today we celebrate the birthday of my husband enjoying each others company, in the heat of the summer evening, sipping one of the finest wine in the world. One evening before, leaving the restaurant La vague d’Or where we dinned, we found on the right seat of our car, discreetly let there by the valet, a box with a surprise cake form the chef pâtissier. I didn’t imagine it would become the anniversary cake but it qualified. Stuffed with candid orange peel, sprinkled with lemon thyme and topped with candy and vanilla glaze it made a natural match with the consistency and aromatic diversity of the exclusive cuvée selected for this moment.
Happy Birthday my love.

  

1996 was exceptional for Dom Perignon but contradictory for Champagne. Some producers got outstanding wines while many had to fight with excessive acidity. Golden, with translucent and dynamic pearls, it smells exuberantly of vanilla, ripe pears and apples, orange peel and fine brioche. It emphasizes a plurality of aromas developed during the 21 years it has been spending in the same bottle. Generous acidity, silky effervescence and a full body not really specific for DP. The symbiosis between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir gives birth to a seductive aromatic diversity completed by a discreet minerality.
I am fascinated by the freshness it displays at the age of 21. It does not exhibit any oxidative touch but tertiary notes gained during the slow aging process. Still young, fresh and vigorous it is capable to explore more dimensions in the next decade.

In 1937 after the economical crises of capitalism, when selling wine of Champagne in the world was a struggle, the house Möet et Chandon launched in a desperate bid or a brilliant marketing action a new cuvée bottled in a special bottle shape similar to those used in the 18th century. It was called Dom Pérignon and it created a new category of champagne known today as tête de cuvée or prestige cuvée, the best wine from the cellar. Nowadays Dom Pérignon is one of the most prestigious champagne of the world, surely the best known. Its celebrity may intimidate ones but it is, without doubt, one of the best wines. The oldest it is, the most positively surprised you will be , if only it were stored in optimal conditions. On the other side cellaring wine is a hobby reserved for the connoisseurs. If you have it, pop it up to create a special moment of joy for yourself.

Dom Pérignon is exclusively a vintage champagne crafted from the best grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, rigorously selected from a single year harvest. It is kept about 6 to 8 years on the lees to perfect itself before being degorged. There are few wines in Champagne with enough power to sustain such a long period of lees contact, usually the optimum time is between 18 months and 4 years after fermentation. Only very well structured wines with good acidity can benefit from such a treatment and develop a broad range of aromas.

Each year DP is unique. As an artistic creation, it expresses the interpretation of the oenolog for the grapes of that particular vintage keeping alive the ethernal character of the brand “ finesse avant tout”. A restrained and mineral wine which ages slowly and magnificent. Its elegance, complexity and vitality are in a perfect harmony. Richard Geoffroy, Le Chef de Cave and creator of this legendary champagne, aims each year a cuvée which is equally friendly and easy drinkable when it is released on the market, at about 10 years age, but which could age decades to complete itself.

I can’t stop admiring its elegance, finesse and complexity, attributes that I expect from an outstanding champagne. I am thinking back that probably only 1998 I liked the same, but definitely my mood today influences the way I perceive the wine.

You can find Dom Perignon on the market in Romania at Le Manoir or Comenzi Sampanie. ro . For older vintages you may refer to specialized stores as Fine and Rare

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