There is a timeless elegance about Dom Pérignon that is comforting and reassuring.
According to Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave since 1990, the vintages produced in the 2000s are some of the best the house has ever produced and can be placed alongside legendary vintages from the 1960s and 1920s. “In my view, it’s really in the top three decades of the last century – it’s that good,” he says.
Which is great, since we tasted the 2000 and 2003 Dom Pérignon Rosé.
The 2000 Dom Pérignon Rosé was a turning point for the house, as it represents a move towards a more ambitious, bold style that is a clear departure from the past. The 2000 is also an ideal choice for drinking today. Especially today!
The 2000 Dom Pérignon Rosé is a flashy, ripe Champagne that screams Pinot. A dark, intense colour leads to a Chambolle-like nose followed by endless sweet red berries, flowers and spices, all backed up with plenty of richness and density. The wine continues to blossom on the palate, with utterly beguiling detail, clarity and polish, all qualities that resonate on the rich, expansive finish. The 2000 Dom Pérignon Rosé is 45% Chardonnay and 55% Pinot Noir, of which 25% is still Pinot. Geoffroy says his goal was to make a statement with the 2000 Dom Pérignon Rosé; he has done that… and so much more. The 2000 signals a stylistic shift towards a more important, serious style of rosé. This is no easygoing rosé, it is a Champagne that demands serious attention. The 2000 tests the limits of what one expects from a Dom Pérignon Rosé, but the wine is simply marvellous. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025.
The 2003 Dom Pérignon Rosé is surprisingly delicate and medium in body, with sweet exotic aromatics that linger on a finish that remains marked by a slight element of astringency. Dried flowers, crushed raspberries and sweet herbs waft from the glass in a Rosé that is all about sensuality. With time in the glass, the richness of the fruit becomes more pronounced, while the tannin from the red grapes is also noticeable. The 2003 Rosé vintage is greatly valued for its flavour as well as the conditions that produced it. The vineyard was first touched by severe spring frosts, then an unparalleled heat wave, producing a perfectly ripe and healthy but small harvest. While you can taste fruits like fig and strawberry, the primary flavour is guava and vanilla.
Only a wine that is created in the Champagne region of France, using ‘méthode Champenoise’ and matured for a minimum of 18 months can be called Champagne. Many consider Champagne as only a celebratory drink. There is a reluctance to go further than that. One must remember that champagnes like Dom Pérignon are by origin, great wines. For example, not only is Dom Pérignon perfect to be served at aperitif it is also a complex and intense wine that can be extensively paired with a meal.
Great Champagne, like a great wine is the result of precision and attention to detail. As you sip it, the Champagne offers a gradual revelation of unique sensations on the palate. If you taste viscosity and a fullness of flavours, you are most definitely drinking great Champagne. Chilling a bottle of Champagne for a couple of hours may not be enough. The best way to enjoy the full complexity of Dom Pérignon is to serve it in a still white wine glass at a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius.
Champagne loves two things in food: salt and fat! These are true foundations for a lot of the food that we really enjoy… and a sparkling wine tends not to overwhelm that because of its delicate suppleness and bubbles.
Champagne goes particularly well with cocktail-party snacks such as popcorn or truffled french fries. A dry sparkling wine will act as a good foil to salty food, and a rosé has the added quality of being “aesthetically pleasing and aromatically very beautiful”.
Dom Pérignon is very versatile when it comes to food pairing. Which is great since we paired it with the antipasti and the main course. The antipasti had plenty of salt as it is a key element to bring out the liveliness of Dom Pérignon. Dom Pérignon Rosé goes perfectly well with Wagyu beef, which was the main course! Dom Pérignon is a dry Champagne and extremely sweet dishes tend to over-power the palate. While the cherry dessert delights were not overly sweet, they still got paired with our delightfully sweet Singapore Sling 🙂
Dom Pérignon is produced by Moet & Chandon and is the house’s prestige vintage Champagne. Dom Pérignon is always a vintage Champagne, meaning that it’s not made when the harvest is what the chef de cave considers a weak year as all grapes for the vintage must be grown in the same year. It is always an assemblage of chardonnay and pinot noir (roughly half and half, although the final composition can lean as far as 60 per cent on either grape variety). When the harvest is good, the company “declares” a vintage. The first Dom Pérignon vintage was in 1921, released for sale in 1936, while the inaugural commercial release of the Rosé was in 1962. The first Rosé vintage was is 1959, but it was not commercially released and is rarely, if ever, even seen. In 1971 the Shah of Iran ordered several bottles of it for the 2500-year celebration of the Persian Empire. Since 1962, there have been twenty-eight vintages of the Rosé.
The Rosé style has evolved quite markedly since around 2000. It had been obvious for some time that Richard Geoffroy is greatly pushing the envelope of what is possible within the world of grand marque Champagne and Rosé in particular. Today, the fruit is being picked riper and there is more still Pinot Noir in the Rosé than at any time over the last five decades, which means current releases are often powerful, vinous and richly textured. Beginning in 2000, the Rosés all have more than 20% still Pinot compared to the 15-18% that was previously the norm.
Geoffroy describes Dom Pérignon as a wine of paradoxes. “Dom Pérignon is perceived as quite traditional and classic in the minds of consumers, but the reality is quite different. As opposed to the traditional, oxidative style some houses pursue, Dom Pérignon is made in a more modern, reductive style aimed at maintaining acidity and freshness.”