2012 was definitely full of surprises, from a challenging growing season to a quasi-perfect harvest. Such a chaotic vintage calls upon our flexibility and humility: to react to unprecedented conditions, to escape conformism, to take risks and to hold back or push forward as required.
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.
Back in July, the prognosis for the 2012 vintage looked rather bleak, after several months of rain (more than twice the amount usually seen in the region). This naturally lead to concerns regarding both downy mildew (at a level comparable to 1997) and powdery mildew (superior to 2004)
The abbey of Hautvillers remains for me the place of inspiration and vision that it was in the time of dom Pierre Pérignon. Founded circa 650 by Saint Nivard, and home to the relics of Saint Helena since 841, Hautvillers survived the vicissitudes of history in an unbroken cycle of destruction and rebirth. Pillaged by the Normans in 882, plundered during the Hundred Years War, sacked during the Wars of Religion, damaged after the French Revolution and during the World Wars, Hautvillers was rebuilt several times, once thanks to a gift from Catherine de Medici
The launch of Dom Pérignon Rosé Œnothèque 1993 is a perfect opportunity to reveal more about Dom Pérignon Rosé, the jewel of Dom Pérignon. Its rarity is linked to the very few vineyards that can offer Pinot Noir grapes with sufficient maturity: mostly south-facing sites in Hautvillers, Ay and Bouzy. In some particularly warm and sunny years, other vineyards can also contribute, but this is the exception rather the rule, much as Dom Pérignon Rosé itself
Dom Pérignon is, and has always been, exclusively a vintage wine. I could be content with simply letting the vintage express its characteristics through the wine; however, in a constant effort to push the envelope, it is crucial to go one step further: we embrace the vintage and confront it to the singularity of Dom Pérignon in an act of creation. The growing season shapes a vintage, but rarely as much as in 2003.
More than a color, Dark is a reflection of the soul of Dom Pérignon: its intensity, its sensuality, its complexity, its paradoxes, its mystery… Each vintage finds its unique way to achieve and incarnate the ideal of Dom Pérignon.
From 2003 to 2011, from one challenge to the next: this is exactly how I felt as I came back to Hautvillers to create the assemblage for 2011. The 2003 Dom Pérignon declaration has brought back memories of one of the most challenging vintages ever, which turned out to be extremely inspiring and motivating. And I am proud to say that as far as 2003 Dom Pérignon is concerned, the reward is commensurate with the risk! Although 2011 has little in common with 2003, they provoke the same sensation in me: years of extremes, with an unusual climate and a strong character
To claim that the 2003 vintage came as a challenge would be an understatement! In a year of extremes and superlatives, the very unusual climate (which is imprinted into the collective memory of the Champenois) lead to a small and early harvest. The nature of the vintage, in tension with the character of Dom Pérignon, created a duality, the exuberance and austerity playing off each other. The vintage contributed expectations of a rich and solar wine, while the Dom Pérignon signature provided an intense, fresh and firm character
I wish you all a happy 2011! Let’s raise our glass to health, love and dreams fulfilled! The adventure will continue here in the same spirit as in 2010, which means your participation is not only welcome, but encouraged! Photo: Guido Mocafico (Katja Martinez Agency)