“Champagne Jayne” was recently mentioning in a comment a trilogy of outstanding vintages: 1953, 1955 and 1959. I have the opportunity (or rather, the privilege!) to taste all the Dom Pérignon vintages regularly, which allows me to follow their evolution for the OEnothèque programme. I decided to browse through my notes to offer you these impressions.
1953 Dom Pérignon
(tasted in 2009, no dosage)
1953 was a generous vintage, very expressive right at release (about as totally opposed to 1952 as possible). Rich and full, mellow and luscious, this wine reveals notes of butter, honey and dried apricot. As the wine breathes the toasted character stands out to evolve in the end towards iodine and oyster shells.
1955 Dom Pérignon
(tasted in 2009, no dosage)
1955 was the archetype of the classical vintage that defines harmony in Champagne—maybe the greatest of the decade. Very energetic and racy, remarkably thorough, this wine is at the same time intense and profound. These qualities express the typical, intriguing paradox of youth versus maturity, combining to create a feeling of completeness. Right in the center, the fruit (sultana) is still very vibrant, with notes of vanilla, smoke and praline (sugar-coated almond).
1959 Dom Pérignon OEnothèque
(tasted in 2010, disgorged in 1999, one of the five vintages selected in 2000 for the launch of Dom Pérignon OEnothèque with 1964, 1973, 1980 and 1985)
1959 was an atypical vintage with exceptional ripeness (comparable to 1893 or 1947). I feel this wine managed to accomodate the excesses of the vintage, sublimating it with a very personal interpretation. This wine displays restrained power and opulence, avoiding the pitfalls of oxydation or inordinate heaviness. Remarkably persistent and complex, it exhibits a captivating bouquet of earthy notes: black and white truffle, peat and chocolate with hints of dried fig and even red fruit (!)
At the end of the 17th Century, Dom Pierre Pérignon stated his ambition to create ‘the best wine in the world’. On 29 September 1694, Dom Pierre Pérignon wrote that his mission was to create “the best wine in the world.” He dedicated himself to improving viticulture techniques, perfecting the art blending grapes from different crus, and introduced the gentle and fractional pressing to obtain white wine from black grapes.Ever since, the House of Dom Pérignon has perpetuated this visionary approach instilled by its founder, one that remains a hallmark of true luxury: the constant reinvention of the exceptional.
Under the creative leadership of cellar master Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon is reinvented with every vintage. The miraculous concept of assemblage – the delicate balance between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – and the commitment to Vintage are instrumental in the act of creation, revealing the wine's extra soul. Precise and tactile to the point of seamlessness, tense through rhythm and vibrancy, vigorous and fresh yet mature, intense and complex – such is the sensual style of Dom Pérignon: so inviting, yet so mysterious...
The core of the blend are the eight historical Grands Crus, Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Le Mesnil, plus the legendary Hautvillers Premier Cru. Dom Perignon also has the unique privilege of being able to select grapes from all 17 Grands Crus in Champagne. giving birth to Dom Perignon's highly intriguing contrast".