Honoring the Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003

When asked about the highlights of 2014, the Rosé Paradox menu, honoring Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003, immediately comes to mind. Back in March, I invited nine chefs from all over the world, each at the top of their craft, to celebrate the Dom Pérignon Rosé Paradox. The challenge ahead was perfectly encapsulated by David Deshaies: “Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003 is unusual, you have to open your mind with this kind of wine. You can go in every direction, it is all about being creative in texture, in provocation.

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Indeed, 2003 was a year of all superlatives, a year of extremes, the warmest vintage in 53 years and one of the earliest harvests ever. As I explained in a previous entry, Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003 is the wine of all paradoxes: voluptuous and hedonistic yet possessing an almost theatrical depth; incredibly intense yet exhibiting a silky and fleshy texture. As such, Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003 is the Dark jewel of Dom Pérignon, an ode to Pinot Noir: witty, vibrant, singing, dancing.

The 3 days of “creative combustion” in Hautvillers and Paris lead to the creation of a unique 11-course menu, each chef contributing his own vision and sensitivity:

 

— The Dom Pérignon Rosé Paradox Menu —

Salmon, rabbit and “hazelnut” butter salad – Matteo Baronetto (Del Cambio, Italy)

Pike quenelles with black truffle, lobster sauce – Laurent André (Royal Monceau, France)

Oyster with Galangal orchata – Ricard Camarena (Ricard Camarena Restaurant, Spain)

Crispy pea Vichyssoise – Karim Lakhani (New York Palace Hotel, United States)

Duck breast onion carbonara, fig-cacao sauce – David Deshaies (Villard Michel Richard, United States)

Hamachi sashimi ceviche style, rhubard and scallop crisp – Oliver “Ollysan” Lange (Serpentine Gallery, United Kingdom)

Roasted brioche, pigeon breast and rhubarb – Nenad Mlinaveric (Park Hotel Vitznau, Switzerland)

Marinated wild sea bass topped with Oscietra cavar champagne jelly, pickled cauliflower and lemon confit – Renald Epié (Al Mahara, Dubai)

Lamb ribs with Oaxaca yellow mole – Ricardo Munoz Zurita (Azul Historico, Mexico)

 

The chefs created the final two dishes as a team:

Brie chesse cream with black truffle

Red fruits, beet infusion and pink pepper

 

Each chef served a selection of dishes in his own restaurant over the course of 2014, allowing their customers to discover the singularity of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003 and the Rosé Paradox.

I now invite you to discover this unusual creative process in this video:

 

Artcurial: a notable auction

It is my pleasure to announce a forthcoming auction organized in collaboration with Artcurial in Paris on December 18th, 2014. I expect this auction to be notable for several reasons.

First of all a wide range of vintages will be offered in blanc and rosé, from 1962 until 2004. Provenance is of utmost importance in the world of auctions, in particular when bottles going back 50 years or more are concerned. In this case the provenance couldn’t be any better as the wines come straight from our cellars in the heart of Champagne. This is the assurance for serious collectors that the bottles they acquire are pristine. Furthermore, the three Plénitudes—through which the singularity of Dom Pérignon expresses itself—will be represented, again in blanc and rosé.

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Second, large formats (including magnums, jeroboams and even mathusalems) will be proposed. These formats are incredibly rare, and we only make them available through auctions. Dom Pérignon not only ages more slowly, but also differently in larger formats: the wine will always be more precise, as in high definition.

Finally with each lot comes a special invitation for a private visit of the Abbaye d’Hautvillers, as well as a tasting for 2 persons. This is a great opportunity to explore the history and scenery hidden behind Dom Pérignon.

Discover the complete catalogue of the auction sale on this link

The auction will take place at Artcurial auction house, 7 Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées Paris VIIIe.

For more information, contact: vins@artcurial.com or call + 33 (0)1 42 99 20 24

 

The 2014 harvest

2014 felt completely upside down climate wise, much like the last couple of years. However when 2013 could be summarized as a rainy winter and spring followed by two beautiful months of summer, 2014 is precisely the reverse. The winter was particularly mild, to the point where many in Champagne thought it never actually happened. The temperatures remained above average until the end of April and there were no incidents due to hail or frost: this lead to an early and perfect flowering with great fruit potential. Every factor pointed to an early and bountiful harvest. However the rain and relatively cold weather of July and August signalled a regression to the mean in terms of precocity, while increasing the pressure of botrytis. Thankfully September was sunny and dry, helping us to keep the threat of rot at bay while trying to reach the perfect ripeness level.

The harvest started gradually between the 12th and 17th of September and was relatively short. The aromatic profile of the grapes evolved rapidly, reaching our desired stage of ripeness and intensity in only ten days. The acidities were high and will help retain balance and freshness. The berries grew rapidly both in size and weight, increasing their fragility and making them more susceptible to rot. The vintage was also marked by the presence of acidic rot, not only in our region but in the whole of Europe. Thankfully the harvest is still performed manually in Champagne, and our experienced teams of pickers were in a position to sort the grapes very carefully in the vineyard. We also operated a strict geographical selection: most of the chardonnays were beautiful; some sectors of pinot noir (mostly around Ay) were hit very hard by rot, while others (Verzenay) matured extremely early (actually the earliest I’ve ever seen) and produced grapes of very high quality.

The 2014 harvest had a great potential which was balanced by relatively high yields and the presence of rot. Our access to a wide range of terroirs in Champagne meant we had the luxury of being extremely selective. Sound viticultural practices and uncompromising sorting of the grapes in the vineyard allow us to be particularly hopeful. As usual the final decision whether to declare this vintage will only be reached after we prepare the final assemblage…

 

Introducing P2

The successive chefs de cave at Dom Pérignon have invariably put aside a substantial quantity of wines from each vintage to let them mature on their lees. Their foresight, legitimated by their unfailing trust in Dom Pérignon’s long ageing potential, allowed me to open the doors of this treasure trove to Dom Pérignon lovers. Starting in 2000, the name of Oenothèque felt natural when the time came to reveal this living memory of Dom Pérignon to the world.

In the fifteen years that have since elapsed, it has become clear that the existence of this wine library was merely a stepping stone on the path to celebrating autolysis, the mysterious and often misunderstood process of maturation on the lees. Setting Champagne apart from other wine regions, this long metamorphosis of the wine is the cornerstone of Dom Pérignon’s vision. Prolonging this focus, and thanks to decades over decades of transmitting this legacy from one chef de cave to the next, the fundamental concept of plénitude emerged.

Unique to Dom Pérignon, these privileged moments of succession are called plénitudes—moments when the wine sings higher and stronger. Through regular tastings of older vintages, I am able to determine exactly when a Dom Pérignon vintage has reached the next plénitude and is ready to be presented to the public. I am proud to introduce to you our new cuvée, whose name is of utmost relevance to Dom Pérignon’s singularity: P2 – Plénitude Deuxième.