Tasting Dom Perignon with Winemaker Richard Geoffrey, 2010 Releases

Tasting Dom Perignon with Winemaker Richard Geoffrey, 2010 Releases

Few brands enjoy the status that Dom Perignon has — and has had, literally for centuries. I had the good fortune to meet the Champagne house’s Chef de Cave Richard Geoffrey, who flew in to San Francisco to give us a guided tour of his latest releases — cracking open a few thousand dollars worth of bubbly on a weekday afternoon to remind me why Dom has the reputation for which it’s renowned. It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it.

Prices are current and estimated — they vary wildly.

Dom Perignon New Release Tasting Report

2002 Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne / $150 / A / A huge nose on this one that fades into a floral and light body. There’s a touch of yeast on the nose, but inhale deep and you’ll get a whiff of the sea — brine and iodine, a little saltiness in the finish. Gorgeous. 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir.

1996 Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne / $250 and up / A / Hard to find now, Geoffrey brought this to compare with the 1996 Oenotheque (more on that in a minute). Considered a tough vintage, Dom has done wonders with it, unveiling a fuller-bodied Champagne with more sweetness and less earthiness. Big on fruit, this is drinking wonderfully now. Bottled in 2003. 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir.

1996 Dom Perignon Oenotheque Champagne / $349 / B+ / The Oenotheque line is a curiosity: It’s the same wine as the 1996 Vintage Champagne, but it’s been sitting on the lees for 7 extra years, bottled in 2010 instead of 2003. Sitting on the yeast for that much extra time gives this wine a harder edge, and I think it’s not nearly as fresh as the Vintage ’96. Geoffrey calls this “re-release” wine “truer to Dom Perignon’s spirit”, with a woodsy, smoky note and some sharpness on the tongue. I prefer the Vintage version by a mile, but I may be in the minority on this one. (Geoffrey also says he has more 1996 in the caves and he plans a third release of this wine in maybe another 20 years. Bring your wallet.)

2000 Dom Perignon Rose Vintage Champagne / $349 / B+ / Don’t be surprised by the color: The pink Dom is the least sweet wine of the bunch, with the most effervescence of the group. 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay, I found this wine to have the least amount of character in the group, though perfectly drinkable and, as with any Rose, much more fun to look at.

1996 Dom Perignon Oenotheque Champagne




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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