Dom Perignon with Gift Box 1998
Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave
Pale yellow with golden highlights.
On the nose: The initial notes of fresh almond and grapefruit gradually lead into cashew nut and spices complemented by lightly toasted brioche.
On the palate:
Satiny texture unfurls on the palate, embracing and caressing it. Momentary weightlessness with a vibrating finish arouses the taste buds with controlled ardor. The persistence is remarkable, with the slightest undertone of tartness (citrus zest and buds.)
The 1998 Harvest
The year featured two unusual and contrasting weather related events: Record high temperatures in August followed by exceptional rainfall in the first half of September. Patience prevailed at harvest and was rewarded by a period of miraculously good weather resulting in healthy, especially well-ripened grapes.
Dom Pierre Perignon set out his vision to "create the best wine in the world" when he became Cellar Master at the sacred Abbey of Hautvillers in 1668. Over 40 years of dedication to this mission led to him being seen by many as the 'father of champagne', due to his visionary spirit and exceptional daring approach to the wine making process - in which he effectively laid down the fundamental rules in the methode champenoise. A favored wine of the Sun King Louis XIV, Dom Perignon himself compared his wine to "drinking stars".
Dom Perignon is made through an assemblage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, created by using only the best grapes harvested from the 17 Grands Crus in Champagne and the Premier Cru of Hautvillers. One of the principle hallmarks of this House is its absolute commitment in only releasing in a vintage year. This commitment to vintage only requires Dom Perignon to reinvent itself every year, staying true to the daring and creative principles laid down by the Dom Pierre Pérignon himself.
The flagship of the House – the Vintage Blanc – is a perfect example of the intricacy of Dom Perignon, expressing the perfect harmony and savoir-faire of the wine making process, while the other key pillars; Vintage Rose and P2 Blanc both bring their own different and exciting elements to be explored.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, three varieties are permitted for use in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.