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A 1996 late-release Dom Perignon that has been heralded as one of the great rosé wines over the past decade. This second tier "plenitude" release (P2) has been resting in Moet and Chandon's cellars for nearly two decades and has recently been disgorged and deemed ready for the market. This wine is bursting with energy and finesse. Perfumed aromas and tropical zest linger on the nose. Toasted nuttiness with dried, savory red fruit dominate the finish. A brilliant wine ready to shed the shackles of its two-decade imprisonment. Drink now, or let it continue aging under natural cork - if you have the strength of will to do so!
Dom Pérignon vintages are released after 7 years of ageing. A small portion of each vintage is kept on the lees even longer, to continue the evolution and magnify its natural qualities.
Only one person - the Dom Pérignon cellar master - can decide if and when to re-release a vintage. The P2 label indicates that the vintage has reached its second peak in maturity, with optimized intensity (15 to 20 years after harvest). The P3 label indicates its third peak, with optimized complexity (after 30 years on the lees).
The maturation of Dom Pérignon occurs not in a simple linear trajectory, but in successive leaps into new expression, each of which are called Plénitudes. In the long journey of elaboration, the wine goes through this metamorphosis, a transformation. Each Plénitude contributes to Dom Pérignon’s singularity. In the darkness of the cellars, from one plénitude to the next, Dom Pérignon will grow and blossom, transmuting time into energy.
The 1996 harvest The year was full of contrasts, with a variable summer. The wetter periods never quite made up for the earlier moisture deficit. Eventually, in the month before the harvest (which began on September 16), spells of hot weather and northeasterly winds gave the vintage an unusual maturity
The 1996 Dom Prignon Rose P2 is breathtaking. Vibrant and yet also wonderfully ethereal, the 1996 proves to be utterly captivating from the very first taste. Scents of orange peel, rose petal and wild flowers all waft from the glass. In recent vintages, the Rose is often decidedly vinous in style. The 1996 speaks to a high acid vintage where freshness prevails over textural richness. The 1996 Rose P2 is not an obvious wine, rather it is a Champagne that speaks to understatement and pure class above all else. Because of its relatively delicate personality, I would prefer to drink the 1996 over the next decade or two at most.
Up to this point 1996 has been considered a fantastic vintage which produced classic wines; the best since 1990. A long, dry summer produced grapes of record ripeness with record acidity. Some, including myself, question how the 1996s are aging. The wines are generally characterized by a distinctive rather lemony acidity and very good attack, but some wines now seem terribly austere, while others already seem dangerously short of fruit. None of the subsequent vintages are quite as distinctive as 1996, which in the more successful cases should almost certainly be drunk after the 1999s.