Dom Pérignon launches Plénitude 2 2003 in Singapore

Nimmi Malhotra

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The storied Champagne house launches a mature expression of the 2003 vintage, and it is complex, deep and harmonious

2003 was a vintage of contrasts. It started with frost in April, which decimated the young chardonnay buds. By July and August – the key months for berries to plump up – the weather turned scorching hot and dry, and all in all, the result was lower yields, early ripened fruit and one of the earliest harvests in the history of Champagne since 1822. The berries, albeit ripe and concentrated, showed higher-than-normal sugar levels and lower acid.

Cellar master, Richard Geoffrey (retired in 2019) chose a much higher concentration of pinot noir in the cuvée (which remained unaffected by frost) and in addition, altered his winemaking methods to avoid excessive tannins and polyphenols. With a mere 38% chardonnay and 62% pinot noir, the vintage boasted the highest concentration of pinot noir in the history of the house.

Although the vintage was widely dismissed as the “heatwave” vintage, only a select few houses braved to make a vintage wine and Dom Pérignon was one of them.

Dom Pérignon vintage-only champagnes are released in three stages of maturity, called Plénitudes. Plénitude 1 refers to the first release after eight to nine years of maturation on lees. Plénitude 2 releases at around 15 to18 years when the cellar master deems it perfect, and Plénitude 3, releases over 25 years later. The temperature-controlled, slow lees ageing deep in the burrows renders the wine complex and harmonious.

The grand Maison notes, “It took eight years of elaboration for Dom Perignon Vintage 2003 to reach its desired harmony. Then, even more, patient waiting was necessary to elevate this vintage to its second life after a full 17 years of maturation.”

With 17 years of patient maturity (disgorged in September 2019), Plenitude 2 2003 was unveiled in Singapore last month, and it was a revelation. Current cellar master Vincent Chaperon describes the P2 2003 as a physical wine. “It calls to you and draws you in, more tactile and vibrant than aromatic.”

Nutty, lemongrass aromas greet you with ripe apricot, pineapple, and mango notes. The wine presents an unpredictable freshness, deep saline, and mineral quality with a mushroom note, bringing umami to the mix. The long is finish, tinged with an alluring iodine bitterness. The champagne offers fullness, structure, and harmony.

Dom Perignon Plénitude 2 2003 is available for $518 at Crystal Wines from mid-October onwards.

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