During 2013 I will try to bring a little more sense of what I’m tasting and drinking at home to the blog, alongside all my Loire, Bordeaux and other reports. Believe it or not, I do occasionally drink something other than Clos Rougeard and Château Latour (ha ha!).
I recently pulled these two vintages of Dom Pérignon from the cellar; it’s been a few years since I last tasted them, and they’re still showing well. The brand (for that is what it is) takes quite a bit of stick in Champagne circles because, considering the exclusive, ‘luxury’ image, the annual production is rumoured to be numbered in millions of bottles. I think the basis for this rumour was the extraordinarily broad distribution; there were bottles in duty free shops across the world (and there are a lot of duty free shops!). I remember spotting the 1992 in the airport in Rhodes of all places; I wonder if the Greek stocks of prestige cuvée Champagne remains as high today?
Acknowledging this, I still find the quality of what is in the glass to be extremely good, a feat perhaps even more remarkable if the production levels really are that high. The 1995 is a super wine. But the 1996 is just a stunner – I’m very happy to have a few more of these in the cellar to “report on” in future years.
Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Perignon 1995: This wine has a pale lemon gold in the glass, with a very fine central bead; there’s plenty of life and vigour in this. The nose shows all the classic finely tuned almonds and cream, but there are also richer notes now of exotic, desiccated-dried fruits and brioche, giving a rather panettone-like feel to it. The palate is very fine, with more of these brioche and almond notes, with a very fine mousse, but with the finely composed fruits found on the nose as well. Long, dry, harmonious and impressive. This is just fine for drinkinng now, although I’m sure this would hold in the cellar for many years yet. 18.5/20 (January 2012)
Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Perignon 1996: A very convincing appearance in the glass here, with a fine, pale-golden hue, and a plentiful bead, with a myriad streams of bubbles. The nose is very exuberant, open and characterful, with honey-roasted almonds alongside lightly candied tropical fruits with some bright, citrus overtones. Quite serious and almost austere on the palate still, also very correct, upright, very tight in terms of its composition, brimming with flavour and texture and yet it is all packed between some very clean lines. Evolving beautifully, and really showing the merits of the 1996 vintage over the 1995 in this comparison. Brilliant wine. 19/20 (January 2012)