Something about Dom Perignon
Dom Pérignon was the 17th century Benedictine monk who has gone down in history as the person who “invented” Champagne. His name was originally registered by Eugène Mercier. He sold the brand name to Moët & Chandon, which used it as the name for its prestige cuvée, which was first released in 1937.
A rigorous selection process in both the vineyard and winery ensures that only the best grapes go into Dom Pérignon champagne. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are used in roughly equal proportions without one variety dominating the other.
In its youth, Dom Pérignon shows incredibly smooth, creamy fruit with perfect balance and weight. As it ages, it takes on wonderfully toasty aromas and a finesse equalled by very few of the other Grandes Marques.
Since 2014 Dom Pérignon has no longer been using the term oenothèque for its late-release Champagnes, but the word Plenitude. This style represents Dom Pérignon champagne that is left in contact with its lees and does not evolve in a linear fashion, but ages in a series of stages, producing “windows of opportunity, or plenitudes” when the Champagne can be disgorged and released to bring consumers a different expression of the same vintage.
There are three plenitudes in the life of a given vintage: the first plenitude spans between seven to eight years after the vintage, which is when Dom Pérignon Vintage is released, while the second one arrives between 12 and 15 years – which was previously the first oenothèque release, but from now will be branded as P2. The third window comes after around 30 years, when the Champagne has spent more than 20 years on its lees, which will now be termed as P4.
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The best Dom since 2002. A vintage with very restrained, powerful style that has been released non-sequentially after the 2009. This has a lighter stamp of highly curated, autolytic, toasty aromas than many recent releases. Instead, this delivers super fresh and intense aromas of lemons, grapefruit and blood-orange peel. Incredible freshness here. The palate has a very smoothly delivered, berry-pastry thread with light, sweet spices, stone fruit and fine citrus fruit. This really delivers. Drink now or hold.
The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous, but quite remarkably, it was even more open when I tasted it a year ago. Bright, focused and crystalline in its precision, the 2008 is going to need a number of years before it is at its best. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the 2008 its chiseled, bright profile. Several recent bottles have all been magnificent. What I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions.
Brisk, tiny mousse. Notably rich nose - very Dom P! There's a hint of something marine on the nose (Michael Broadbent's oyster shells?) and then extremely tight and lacy - it somehow reminded me of a sponge because of springy texture. Masses of energy here, as well as the usual flirtatiousness. It will continue to open out, I'm sure. I tasted it very cool and then went back to it at almost room temperature a couple of hours later and it stood up extremely well. The official Geoffroy description of this vintage is 'athletic' and 'vertical'. 'All 2008s are bright in terms of fruit; we want ours to shine white light. We have deliberately warmed it up a bit, working on the muscle to better integrate the acidity.