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Tasting Notes: Straw yellow with golden highlights. As the wine breathes it reveals its strength. The first burst of brioche and ripe wheat evolves into a complex bouquet that is sombre and shadowed, mineral, smoky with a hint of roasting coffee.
The attack is sharp and pronounced, the prelude to an unusual breadth. The full tale is revealed, unfolds and glides across the palate as if powered by the incisive finish that continues to characterise this vintage.
In 2014, Dom Perignon announced that it would be changing the name of its late-release Oenothèque series into a “P2” and “P3” offerings, referring to the second and third “plenitudes” of development in the evolution of a Champagne.
P3 offerings are fully matured, recently disgorged Champagnes that have been stored in the cellars where they were originally made.
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.
There are three plenitudes in the life of a given vintage: the first window or plenitude is around 6-8 after the vintage. This is when Dom Pérignon Vintage is released.
The second plenitude, or P2, arrives between 12-15 years after vintage, and is about when the energy reaches its climax; showing intensity and vibrancy in high-definition.
The third plenitude, P3, comes after around 30 years, when the Champagne has spent more than 20 years on its lees. This is a stage in which maximum complexity is sought, very concentrated, with the most wisdom but with less energy.
“Dom Pérignon wines follow the rhythm of three plénitudes: the first after seven years maturing on their lees; the second between eleven and twenty years; and the third beyond twenty. In the darkness of our cellars, from one plénitude to the next, Dom Pérignon will grow and blossom, transmuting time into energy….The lineage of all the vintages in their third plénitude represents the living memory of Dom Pérignon, transmitting this heritage through generations of Chefs de Cave.” -Winemaker’s Notes.
After an astonishingly mild winter and early, rapid flowering of the vines, the 1988 vintage was marked by a summer of alternating heavy rain and high temperatures. Picking began on 26 September for the Chardonnay, and on 27 September for the Pinot Noir.
CHAMPAGNE: From this year, the most classic and refined champagnes were produced. Champagnes are long-lived and mature slowly to their peak.
Winter and spring were fairly mild. Inflorescences began in good weather in June. Already during the next month, the cloud masses swarmed to the Champagne province. Finally, the sky broke right before harvest. The harvest remained smaller than in the previous year. Even though the weather was unstable, the vintage produced fine and elegant wines, of which many have just reached their peak. The wines are marked by high acids and a concentrated, precise style. A real classic vintage. There is no rush to enjoy these wines, as they endure storage well and will continue to develop well for the next 10–12 years. Indicative of a slowly maturing vintage is that Krug released to the market first the Clos du Mesnil 1989 vintage before the 1988 vintage. This year has also stayed in mind as the vintage when Jacquesson & Fils produced the first of its three late bottled special cuvées – the Jacquesson DT (Dégorgement Tardif).