Could you explain how the wines from these recent past three great vintages('90, '96, '02) are similar and different from your perspective? Each has their merits, and it would be interesting to see what your thoughts are on them as a group and individually.
Jeff, thanks for your question. I also consider these three vintages as the greatest ones of the past 20 years at Dom Pérignon, and I am pleased that we made them available right as we speak: 2002 Dom Pérignon Vintage, 1996 Dom Pérignon Œnothèque and 1990 Dom Pérignon Rosé Œnothèque.
These three vintages all display a very strong character, making a statement about intensity, volume and stature. Two of them (1990 and 2002) showed a personality fusional with the style of Dom Pérignon, highlighting the typical aspects of ampleness, roundness and texture. To the contrary, the nature of the 1996 vintage was in tension with the character of Dom Pérignon: concentration and power to the point of being somewhat provocative and haughty. This confrontation with Dom Pérignon’s style helped create a great Champagne.
In a way it reminds me of wine & food pairings: one can either play on the complementarity (fusion), or the opposition (tension). In both cases outstanding results can be achieved, but the greatest challenge lies with finding harmony in conflict.
Thank you for your very informative and enlightening answers. In line with harmony in conflict, I’m venturing a guess that the 1996 offers the greatest potential for conflict and hence greatness with harmony in conflict?
I paired a 1996 recently with my meal of steak tartare for appetiser, followed by short ribs over risotto, and finished with creme brulee for dessert and it was spectacular in my opinion. I did have many other wines through the night, and the 1996 just shone through like a lighthouse be it heavy toned flavors or more delicate ones. An amazing wine I must say!