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Istanbul hosts Dom Pérignon launch

Dom Pérignon launched its 2002 rosé in Istanbul last night – a city selected for its energy as well as combination of eastern and western cultures – while the brand will unveil its 2004 blanc later this year.

“We chose Istanbul for the contrast between east and west and the epic intensity of the place,” said Arnaud de Saignes, international director of marketing and communications for the brand, speaking to the drinks business ahead of the launch.

Continuing he clarified that, like the Turkish city, Dom Pérignon was a product of contrasting influences – the relationship between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Further explanation for choosing Istanbul comes from the Dom Pérignon website, where it notes, “The words used to describe Dom Pérignon rosé vintage 2002 – dark and luminous, rich and vivacious, mineral and sensual, ample and precise, inviting and mysterious – could also be applied to the city spanning two continents.”

The pink Champagne was unveiled at Istanbul’s Salt Galata Art Centre, where Michelin-starred French chef Jean-François Piège cooked food using local ingredients, such as Bosphorus shrimp.

The 2002 rosé will be available from February, and, looking further ahead, de Saignes said that Dom Pérignon will be launching the blanc 2004 later this year, having unveiled the 2003 in 2012 – hosting five simultaneous international events in London, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Tokyo for the controversial vintage release.

As for the prestige cuvée’s late-release range called Œnothèque, de Saigne explained that the brand would continue with the 1996 vintage for this year.

He also admitted that Dom Pérignon needed to increase the understanding of the Œnothèque concept, which sees the Champagne rest on its lees in the brand’s cellars for an extended period.

“I think there is a job to do, which we’ve started, which is to valorise this idea of extra maturation of Dom Perignon.”

“The same vintage of Dom Perignon is released three times, which means there are three different expressions of the same vintage, and we think this is interesting to offer to our consumers, and the only way for them to experience this is to go to our Œnothèque.”

However, he lamented, “But we think that consumers don’t understand the depth of the brand: for instance, they don’t always know there is a rosé, or that there are different plenitudes [releases].

“And they haven’t appreciated the impact of the extra time spent ageing on lees – and we believe there is a lot of added value in understanding that.”

Explaining further not only the concept of separate releases of Dom Pérignon, but also their timing, chef de cave Richard Geoffroy writes on his blog, “If we consider the wine on its lees, I can see 3 windows of opportunity, or plénitudes: the first one 8 years after the vintage (which is when Dom Pérignon Vintage is released); followed by a second plénitude between 12 and 15 years after the vintage (which is the first Œnothèque release); and finally a third plénitude 30-40 years after the vintage.”

Then he adds, “After this point I would say that the wines evolve only extremely slowly, with a steadier development curve.”

Such is Geoffroy’s belief in the benefit of extended lees contact for Dom Pérignon, he has said he would like to see all the brand’s production go into the Œnothèque.

As previously reported by db, currently just under 10% of the iconic Champagne is held back for at least a further five years ageing on its lees, followed by three year’s cellaring post disgorgement, before it’s released as an Oenothèque vintage with a significantly higher price tag.

However, despite the greater margin earned from late-release Dom Pérignon, Geoffroy said that the company’s accountants prevent him from putting all his stock into the Oenothèque.


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