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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".
AN ACT OF CREATION TO REFLECT THE VISION OF DOM PÉRIGNON
It begins with a vision: Dom Pérignon’s creative ambition strives towards harmony as a source of emotion.
All creative processes have their constraints. Dom Pérignon's constraint is the vintage. Dom Pérignon can only be produced from the harvest of a single year. Dom Pérignon is one and indivisible.
Its Vintages express themselves fully into three dimensions:
The year: the character of the seasons;
The Plénitudes: evolution by successive windows of expression on the way of the long maturation on lees;
The colour: white or rosé.
Can one single glass be created to fully express the champagne across years, Plénitudes and colors? Thus guarantee the best tasting experience: on the eye, on the nose and on the palate. Dom Pérignon chose to take on this challenge with the experience of Richard Geoffroy, passing on its intangible legacy to its successor, Vincent Chaperon, and the savoir-faire of Maximilian Riedel, CEO of Riedel, and 11th generation of the family.
THE CHAMPAGNE DEFINES THE SHAPE OF THE GLASS
The Riedel glass tradition dates back to 1673 in Bohemia, but Claus Riedel, 9th generation, was the first to create purely functional glasses directly inspired by the Bauhaus movement: form follows function. Since the end of the 1950s, the company Riedel has consistently created the best possible glasses to highlight the qualities of complex wines in the nose and mouth. Today, its founding principle is that the wine alone defines the final shape of the glass, and no preconceived design or trend should intervene in its elaboration.
A TRANSCENDENT FORM FOR A HARMONIOUS EXPERIENCE
The “Dom Pérignon” glass came to life in a creative process that unfolded over the course of a year. The new glass emerged through numerous tastings and ultimately took form following critiques and refinements.
Riedel designed the “Dom Pérignon” glass to be in symbiosis with every Vintages of the House, shedding a light on the singularity of Dom Pérignon. Unfailingly true to Dom Pérignon’s vision, the new glass sets the stage for harmony by enhancing:
- Weight: substantial, yet with a certain lightness and ease, powerful but not forceful
- Flow: a tension, a “yin & yang” that enables the wine to express itself without exaggerating any dimension of its complexity
- Texture: continuous, seamless, tactile
- Finish: fruit-driven, encompassing both minerality and salinity
“The Dom Pérignon glass is magic, a success in both functionality and design. It feels very good in your hand and makes you even more excited about the Dom Pérignon in the fine glass.” said Riedel. The new “Dom Pérignon” glass will be used for all Dom Pérignon tastings and experiences, as well at selected partners locations. It is also available for consumer purchase on Clos19 or Riedel website.
Dom Pérignon Glass by Riedel
Dom Pérignon is, and has always been, exclusively a vintage wine. I could be content with simply letting the vintage express its characteristics through the wine; however, in a constant effort to push the envelope, it is crucial to go one step further: we embrace the vintage and confront it to the singularity of Dom Pérignon in an act of creation.
The growing season shapes a vintage, but rarely as much as in 2003. The spring began with a deceptively mild weather which was not to last: freezing temperatures and hailstorms in early April culminated in a devastating frost on April 11, which nipped most of the Chardonnay vines in the Côte des Blancs, and destroyed up to three-fourth of its potential harvest.
What would already have made for an eventful year was only the beginning, though: over the summer, the most intense heatwave in 53 years lead to the earliest harvest since 1822. Fortunately enough, the grapes were perfectly ripe and in exceptional sanitary condition. Overall, the contrasting weather conditions contributed to an extraordinary richness and concentration.
The features of a vintage gifted with such a personality as 2003 will inevitably make their way into the wine, as they should. Actually, such an extreme vintage can sometimes even be considered too forceful. This is exactly where my challenge lies: finding the perfect balance between the expression of the vintage and the singularity of Dom Pérignon, turning a contrast into a resonance. In this specific case, the richness and intensity of the vintage responds to the usual vibrancy and tactile presence of Dom Pérignon. In my tasting notes, desciptors such as spices, candied fruits or licorice, although not altogether foreign to Dom Pérignon, convey the uniqueness of the vintage; whereas Dom Pérignon asserts itself through briny, smoky notes on the nose, and its signature minerality on the palate.
Finally, as the year 2003 was unfolding, the challenge awaiting me became clearer and I sought the inspiration of older vintages in our Oenothèque: 1947, 1959 or 1976. All these great wines from solar vintages had easily managed to weather the decades, as they all seemed so fresh and alluring. The acidity level was a riddle in itself, but the key was to focus on freshness, which could be reached through minerality as well as vibrancy of the fruitiness. I’m convinced that the intensity coupled with such a precise, chiselled phenolic structure will confer to Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003 the stability through time I desired.
My greatest hope is that, in the history of Champagne, Dom Pérignon can endure as the greatest tribute to the 2003 vintage.
Richard Geoffroy, Creator and Chef de Cave of Dom Pérignon since 1990
A challenging vintage for Champagne in the face of an unprecedented heatwave during the summer months. The wines are characterised by the year's unusual circumstances. Large-scale frosts destroyed most of the projected yield and they were followed by hail and an extremely hot summer. Harvest was kick-started early on August 21st and yields remained minuscule at 8,100 kg/ha. Atypically round, ripe, sun-kissed wines that miss freshness and backbone. The total acidity level was notably low, at 5.8 g/l. Only the very best performers were able to avoid heaviness and overripe aromatics. This vintage was not largely declared but some famous names, Krug and Dom Pérignon at the fore, chose to experiment with it. Both produced excellent 2003s and Dom Pérignon's chef de cave at the time named the vintage as one of the creations he is most proud of. Some special cuvées surfaced, such as 2003 by Bollinger, as the house found the year did not stylistically fit into the La Grande Année range. Palmer & Co also took a curious route and made its 2003 only in magnum, releasing it much later than usual as cuvée Grands Terroirs. The ageing capacity of 2003 is much debated. Dom Pérignon's Richard Geoffroy had great confidence in his 2003 and he actually regretted releasing it too early. The jury is still out, but personally I am inclined to drink mine sooner rather than later, as the advancement post-disgorgement has in most cases been rather rapid and the wines miss the acidic backbone necessary for retaining freshness.