About Richard Geoffroy
Richard Geoffroy, the scion of a long line of Côte des Blanc winegrowers, was born in the heart of Champagne country in 1954, in the town of Vertus, set amid the Chardonnay vineyards. Going against what might have seemed to be a predestined career in the world of wine, he took up medicine and received his doctorate in 1982. He then went back to his roots and enrolled in the École Nationale d’OEnologie in Reims. Today, he never wonders why he gave up medicine but why he didn’t respond to the call of the vine in the first place. This detour, however, only made the return to the source more rewarding.
Geoffroy began his second career in wine in the Napa Valley, an experience that taught him the basics of the business. He became the technical adviser for Domaines Chandon, acting as a link between Champagne and the New World vineyards. This was a second detour in his career: he learned his trade on foreign soil before fully exercising it in Champagne.
A PASSION FOR CREATION
As Dom Pérignon’s Chef de Cave, Geoffroy has been watching over the destiny of this legendary wine ever since. As the creator of Dom Pérignon, he takes a personal interest in the wine, an international symbol of all that is best in Champagne. He alone is responsible for deciding whether or not to declare a Dom Pérignon vintage.
How does he handle this weighty responsibility? “It mustn’t become an obsession,” he says, “or it would be a strong hindrance to action. Total commitment is the best antidote to stress, the most effective way of forgetting about the pressure.”
Richard Geoffroy speaks of disciplined organization and control of his time as basic requirements for maintaining equilibrium in his work and helping him to remain open and reactive. Geoffroy is constantly seeking this equilibrium, which gives him full possession of his resources and allows him to respond to the demands of this paradoxical wine, so complex yet so harmonious.
DOM PÉRIGNON OENOTHÈQUE
As the custodian of Dom Pérignon’s history and style, Geoffroy watches over a few samples of each vintage in his OEnothèque, the Chef de Cave’s wine cellar. In the OEnothèque, the wine continues to mature for years and even decades, and is reborn with each metamorphosis of time, for Dom Pérignon is unanimously recognized for its impressive aging potential. As Geoffroy puts it, “Dom Pérignon OEnothèque is the ultimate expression of a wine whose style defies time.”
Geoffroy’s commitment to the OEnothèque program, which began with the 1990 Vintage, involves ongoing personal research on each vintage. The effect of time on the bottled wine retains its share of mystery and surprise even for him.
THE 7 SENSUALITIES EXPERIENCE
In 2006, Geoffroy set himself a new challenge: to reveal each vintage’s various facets in a different way. Going beyond the usual food and wine pairings, Geoffroy offers a unique way to experience the wine based on seven new combinations. These gustatory and sensorial correspondences reveal the wine as never before: “I wanted to set the stage for the flavors but also to seek – with no preconceptions or taboos – sensations that make each experience a ceremony of the senses.”
This personable man who is so passionate about culture, travel and the search for new flavors is naturally drawn to the great masters of international gastronomy, with whom he inherently shares certain sensibilities, since the culture of wine and food are two dimensions of a terroir and a society. They are not only its gustatory but also its human heritage.
Geoffroy finds in books faithful companions that open the doors to reflection, poetry and inner adventure. From his travels, he captures and filters a myriad of impressions, which he reinterprets in the making of Dom Pérignon.
Dom Pérignon’s dazzling original vision must stand up to the merciless test of time, for the challenge of making Dom Pérignon lies in mastering time to create this opus, then leaving it up to time to reveal it.
About the blog
The Making Dom Pérignon Blog satisfies my desire to share more information about my work as the Chef de Cave at Dom Pérignon while offering me an opportunity to connect with Dom Pérignon enthusiasts.
I invite you to join me on a trip in space and time: during my travels around the world for our Wine Mission or in the cellar in Epernay, at public events or behind closed doors, but also browsing through my memories (spanning more than 20 years) or projecting myself into future releases and projects. In short, telling all the stories that relate to making Dom Pérignon.
About the comments moderation
Your participation on this blog is encouraged in the form of comments. Please be assured that Richard Geoffroy will read them, even though it will obviously not be possible for him to react to all of them.
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Photo: © Roméo Balancourt