With this vintage, Dom Perignon’s chef de cave Richard Geoffroy says he wants to ‘put the pinot in the spotlight, to let it sing and dance.’ Steve King is all ears.
A lot of winemakers and whisky distillers, I’ve noticed, possess an uncommon flair and facility with language. (Could there be something about the stuff they make that helps loosen the tongue?)
None more so, however, than Richard Geoffroy, chef de cave at Dom Pérignon. Where others have a magnum of metaphors to uncork, this guy has a methuselah.
He splashed them about with the profligacy of a Grand Prix winner when he launched Dom Pérignon’s 2002 rosé at a swishy dinner at Leighton House last week. With this vintage, he said, he wanted to ‘put the pinot in the spotlight, to let it sing and dance’.
Something about the music-hall associations seemed just right to me. I’m pretty sure I heard notes of ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’, caught a glimpse of frilly Moulin Rouge knickers and savoured a pleasing stretch of Radio City Rockette leg in the finish.
The pinot-heavy aspect is, of course, one of the things that makes good rosé so good. It’s what gives it its lovely, earthy, slightly mud-spattered sous bois character. There’s a goodly whiff of the forest floor about the 2002 rosé.
Its paler sibling, the 2002 brut, created a big noise when it was released a few years ago; comparisons were widely made with other über-vintages, such as the 1990 and 1996.
The same is already happening with the rosé. The subject of supply is often brought up in relation to Dom Pérignon, with conspiracy theorists positing a great unseen champagne aquifer hidden beneath the old abbey at Hautvillers. (A charming thought.)
But the scarcity of the 2002 is not in doubt — there simply isn’t much of it to go round. Several London wine merchants reported selling out of their initial allocation within hours. Hotfoot it, therefore, to Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason until the reinforcements arrive.