In a re-branding of the Oenothèque series, Dom Pérignon has re-released the 1998 vintage under the new name P2 to represent the wine's second 'plenitude'.
Dom Pérignon Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy with the P2-1998 at Fera, London
The latest release of the Dom Pérignon 1998 vintage, which first came on the market in 2005, was unveiled at the official UK launch by Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy this week, ahead of its upcoming debut in the USA, Hong Kong, Japan and France.
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Speaking at the launch, held in Simon Rogan’s new London restaurant Fera, Geoffroy said the ‘P2-1998’ marks both the end of the Oenothèque range and the first in its new ‘second plenitude’ series.
The new strategy is likely to see the house holding back a greater proportion of its stock in order to stagger releases over a longer time frame.
The plenitude concept, Geoffroy explained, is a series of stages during a wine’s development on its lees that produces ‘windows of opportunity or plenitudes’ which, once the wine is disgorged, can represent different expressions of the same vintage.
‘We want to showcase the privileged moments of a certain vintage in its lifetime,’ said Geoffroy, who believes there are three such plenitudes.
The first, which he said shows ‘harmony’, comes approximately eight years after the vintage, while the second takes ‘roughly 15 years’, 12 of which are spent on its lees.
‘For the second plenitude, we’re looking for the peak of energy, intensity and vibrancy, showing the wine in high-definition.’
The third stage takes place between 30 and 40 years after the vintage with ‘no less than 20 years on its lees’.
‘P3 is more about being calm and complex,’ said Geoffroy. Both P2s and P3s will have a dosage of below 6g per litre, versus a dosage of up to 7g for the initial release.
The P2-1998 stems from a vintage that experienced a hot August, but then a rainy start to September, which postponed the harvest by two weeks. ‘A lot of the Champenois were worried about over-ripeness,’ said Geoffroy, resulting in a limited number of vintage declarations.
Geoffroy sees his role as the ‘discerner’ of when a certain wine has reached each plenitude. ‘There is no formula, it all depends on the vintage and the maturation process. It’s not an exact science.’
He expects the first P3s to be released by the end of the year, from the 1970 and 1982 vintages.
He claimed Dom Pérignon has an ‘ambitious plenitude programme’ and while the LVMH-owned group has to ‘be flexible with what percentage of a vintage to release at a certain time’, it ‘will be putting aside more and more’ in the years to come. ‘It’s a long term project,’ Geoffroy added.
The launch coincided with the unveiling of Dom Pérignon’s collaboration with Michelin two-starred British chef Simon Rogan and the creation of a bespoke tasting menu at Fera restaurant in London’s Claridge’s paired with the P2-1998.
For a limited-time, guests will be able to experience the unique pairing menu that includes stewed rabbit, raw veal, Cornish lobster, dry aged Herwick hogget and sheep’s yoghurt mousse with black cherries.
For an undisclosed fee, diners can also pay for Rogan and his team to re-create the menu at their home.
Written by Georgina Hindle for Decanter.com
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