Dom Pérignon re-brands Oenothèque

Richard Geoffroy

Richard Geoffroy captured by photographer Colin Hampden-White

During the discussion with db, Geoffroy did not want to announce whether Dom Pérignon would follow the 2004 vintage, launched last year, with the 2005 – a vintage that Moët has decided to skip.

However, he did stress that every vintage released by Dom Pérignon must be good enough to go into the brand’s cellars for extended ageing on the lees.

“We would not consider making a vintage which we wouldn’t be able to re-release through a second or third plenitude,” he said, adding, “The capacity to go to a second or third plenitude is a criteria of declaration.”

When asked about the characteristics of each plenitude, Geoffroy said the first vintage release displayed “harmony”, pointing out that the 2004 vintage launched last year needed nine years ageing on its lees to have “an overall harmony”.

With the second release, or plenitude, Geoffroy looks for “energy”, an aspect he said was evident in the release of P2 – 1998.

“The 1998 is about energy: the wine is already 16 years to the vintage. You could well expect the maturity of the wine to be based on weight and power – paradoxically it is not.

“It is full, packed with energy – so lifted, so Dom Pérignon, so penetrating; energetic and dancing, nothing weighty, nothing tired or oxidative.”

As for a third plenitude, Geoffroy said that he witnesses “something more accomplished, streamlined, integrated and more into complexity – but integration is the one word: it is when all the characters are back to the core of the wine.”

But, he then stressed, “The lifespan of Dom Pérignon is far more than 30-40 years, and from the third plentitude, the wine will keep improving.”

Dom Pérignon puts around 10% aside of every vintage into the house’s cellars for extended ageing, and then Geoffroy and his winemaking team taste the wines twice a year to monitor the Champagnes’ evolution.

When Geoffroy believes the wine is ripe for its second or third release, he disgorges the Champagne in one go, and, since 2000, has printed the disgorgement year on the label.

The dosages for Dom Pérignon’s late-release Champagnes are lower, and always under 6 g/l of sugar, compared to between 6 to 7 g/l for the first release.

The 1998 – P2 was launched in Iceland last week and will be shown to UK trade and press in early June.

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