By Melissa Pulvermacher
When I think about Dom Pérignon Champagne, I think of luxury and pleasure. Now, more-so than ever, that opinion has amplified beyond pleasure into absolute bliss.
After attending a private tasting of the soon to be released to Ontario, Dom Pérignon P2-1998 with Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy, I have an entirely new excitement for the potential of Dom Pérignon Champagne.
Dom Pérignon is always a vintage Champagne, which means production only occurs in ideal years. 1998 was one of the rare years that led a triple vintage where 1998, 1999 and 2000 were all great years to harvest grapes.
Champagne laws help enforce, that vintage Champagne must be aged for at least three years. Whereas, Dom Pérignon enforces their own law, stating that the wine will age no less than seven years before release to the public.
Dom Pérignon 1998 has already been released, but Richard Geoffroy has discovered that Champagne, when aged in the cellar with longer lees contact, goes through three full evolutions.
These evolutions of maturation are referred to as “Plénitudes”. Geoffroy expresses that these evolutions heighten and magnify the characters of the wine.
The first Plénitude occurs after a minimum of seven years on the lees, depending on the vintage, and is said to embody harmony.
The second Plénitude occurs after a minimum of 12 years of maturation on the lees, at which point, great depth of character and intensity are prevalent.
The third Plénitude occurs after no less than 20 years of maturation on the lees, which is said to showcase perfect complexity
After the third Plénitude occurs, Dom Pérignon is said to reach its peak and will sustain itself in this third stage of quality for any further bottle aging.
Dom Pérignon has previously released this second evolution wine under the name Oenothèque as a limited edition product, but the house will now be packaging the 1998 vintage, that has recently been disgorged in 2009, with a more consistent availability as P2-1998.
Geoffroy also excitedly announced that P3 Champagne, in its third and final stage of evolution, from 1970 and 1982 vintages will be released in 2015, which I will dream about until I get to experience what is now only a brilliant fantasy in my mind.
After being given the opportunity to taste the P2-1998, all I can do is reiterate how pleasurable and intense the Champagne really is.
This is a first-hand experience kind of sensation that cannot be described adequately without trying it for yourself. The wine has so much energy and fullness.
As Geoffroy described, he is really working to cross intensity and precision in one glass. The finish lingers on and on and make you want to melt into the bubbles.
1998 was a warm year in Champagne and the rich, ripe fruit flavours are amplified around the gentle and exquisite effervescence. Those expected toast flavours are present, but delicate.
My only regret was not being able to taste the P2-1998 beside the originally released 1998 in order to further emphasize what this extra lees maturation brings to the Champagne.
Geoffroy was no-less than eloquent in his explanation and reiterated passion for his life’s work expressing that “more than a winemaker, I am a memory maker”.
He wants to embrace this brilliantly discovered maturation evolution in order to trim down any unnecessary noise around the Champagne and add layers into one, already existing identity of Dom Pérignon.
I personally feel that Geoffroy’s intentions are assured and very well-articulated with the P2 release as my own experience with the Champagne has certainly created a memory in my mind worth holding onto.
Pursuing wine as a discipline through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), she has fully immersed herself in the industry by working for a local, Niagara winery and by taking on several projects in the discipline of wine, including, but not limited to, acting as founder and coordinator of The Vino Enthusiasts Wine Club, as well as head researcher of a wine buyers and wine agencies project.
Melissa is an active writer for Natalie MacLean and for her own personal wine and culinary blog and intends to continue on a forever pursuit of wine knowledge.