I have already introduced Alexandre Schmitt in a previous entry. During his visit to Hautvillers, we did not only talk—we also tasted. Declaring five vintages in a row, from 2002 to 2006, has been a unique occurrence in the history of Dom Pérignon. I welcomed Alexandre’s input on what made them so different yet distinctively Dom Pérignon.
Our discussion quickly moved to the elusive notion of freshness. As a concept it can seem obvious—in terms of aromas it is split among many categories. Citruses, aromatic herbs or even the sea can all be linked to freshness in different ways. This is also the case of fresh flowers, such as hawthorn or peony, which are readily apparent on the nose of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006. Here the freshness is soft, tender, indirect, with the quality of the early daylight.
Bitterness was also considered. Rejected by the newborn because it is intuitively linked to poisonous plants, it takes time and dedication to appreciate the refined and sophisticated bitter notes, such as can be found in the long finish of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003. On the nose and palate, red fruit notes, juicy and energetic, paradoxically appear in a white wine.
We finally left the universe of pure aromas to venture into the world of texture. A combination of tannins, fullness and mousse, texture is a key element of Dom Pérignon’s singularity. Dom Pérignon Vintage 2005 comes forth as seductive yet progressively takes on a form of monacal solemnity, a sobriety and restraint that sustain the surgical precision of the wine’s delivery. With time, Dom Pérignon 2004 fleshes out, its substance participating in the perfect continuum between the nose, the palate and the finish, offering a seamless experience. Flowers abound, white, heady, opulent. Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002 is solar, bold, ripe, almost tropical, immediately engaging yet possessing a seemingly endless reserve of energy. The tension gradually appears with the torrefied notes.
Five vintages of Dom Pérignon; five individual wines; five expressions of Dom Pérignon’s singularity.