Following Moët Hennessy's release in March this year of the Oenothèque Collection 1990 Dom Pérignon Rosé, Geoffroy described it as an “alignment of the planets”, adding: “2010 will always remain an extraordinary year for Dom Pérignon.
“A release such as this has never happened in the history of Dom Pérignon,” he said.
Near perfect growing conditions during 2002 resulted in a harvest of highly concentrated grapes in the Champagne region. “Dom Pérignon 2002 expresses all the power of grapes picked at the peak of their maturity,” said Geoffroy.
Tasting revealed the 2002 Vintage to be a very full, vibrantly energetic wine, with its ripe fruit softness enhanced by classic acidic balance. Not overly creamy, the initial citrus fruit developed layers of quince, mineral, and kiwi fruit richness through an elegant and finely balanced, prolonged finish.
Initially released in 2003, Dom Pérignon 1996 – described by Geoffroy as a “wild animal of a vintage” – was characterised by its intensity and individuality, and has since earned a reputation as arguably the best of the latter part of the twentieth century. Following an extra six years of bottle maturation on the yeasts, the Oenothèque Collection release was disgorged in 2008.
“The wine’s structure is tense and assertive,” said Geoffroy. “Its almost tactile energy is contained for a moment then explodes into a richness that is superbly persistent, distinct and persuasive.”
Tasted against a 1996 Vintage from the Dom Pérignon cellars, the 1996 Oenothèque showed a much leaner acidic character, with more pronounced citrus intensity and a greater depth of mineral, hazelnut and yeasty character underlying the finish. On disgorgement, said Geoffroy, the dosage added to the 1996 Oenothèque was slightly lower to account for the different acidity.
“Dom Pérignon is so inviting, so easy to step into, yet it doesn’t give itself away immediately,” said Geoffroy. “I expect through the release of the 1996 to reach new heights in the Dom Pérignon business.”
Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002 is expected to be available in selected on-trade and retail outlets from October 1 in the UK, with a retail price of £120. Dom Pérignon Oenothèque Collection 1996 is available in very limited quantities on allocation only, UK retail from £200.