I often liken a vintage to a musical piece composed by nature: as the chef de cave my role is to interpret it. This harmonious dialogue between Dom Pérignon’s singularity and the personality of the vintage is the key to revealing the wine’s extra soul.
To bring this metaphor to reality, Alexandre Desplat, Lang Lang and Robert Wilson were recently approached to compose, interpret and direct three music pieces inspired by three wines I had selected for their unprecedented character: Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003; Dom Pérignon Rosé 2000; and Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1966. I invited them for successive tastings during which Alexandre put his sensations into words: Vintage 2003 “sparkling, with sudden breaks, like a mosaic of disorganized elements”; Rosé 2000 “sensual, flowing, cloudy, reminiscent of Debussy”; and Oenothèque 1966 “earthy, powerful, dense, like a slow rising”.
Much as Dom Pérignon reveals itself as it is savored, the raison d’être of a music piece is to be performed. Piano virtuoso Lang Lang and director Robert Wilson worked in concert to bring the musical notation to life. The three artists were involved right from the start and as Lang Lang noted during the first meeting in February, “it is rare these days to create new music together for such an unusual event, from the first idea to the last, as we are doing here”.
I could imagine no better setting for such a concert than the Château de Versailles and its timeless connection to Hautvillers, around a spectacular dinner desgined by Jean-François Piège. The Salon d’Hercule inspired the director: more specifically the “Feast at the Table of Saint Simon”, a painting by Veronese hanging from its walls, which suggested the idea of two long tables as the backdrop for the dancers. Robert Wilson, creating tension between classicism and modernity, mentioned that his challenge was “to create a stage design that will help the audience hear better with their eyes wide open”.
The performance was an emotional moment for me, as I witnessed Dom Pérignon finding its counterpart in the work of the artists. The rhythm of the music, its vibrancy and intensity evoked memories of Hautvillers, sending me back to the intimacy of my own creative experience. No further evidence was necessary to recognize that these three extraordinary artists had succeeded in transposing the spirit of Dom Pérignon into music, and I raised a glass of Dom Pérignon to their incredible talent!