What vintages to release?

M. Geoffroy

Thanks for your participation in this forum.

I’m interested in the thought process that goes into deciding what vintages to release. For instance, a number of what I might describe as “luxury producers” decided to release a 1997 (which wines have been reasonably well received) while Dom Perignon opted not to.

Clearly you can’t speak for the others, and decisions not to release in particularly poor vintages are much more straightforward. But in a “marginal” year like 1997, do you simply wait until the winemaking process is complete and decide then, or do you decide at an earlier point, perhaps when you’ve received and analyzed the grapes?

Again, its a great treat to have you here.


Dear Peter,

Starting with your more general question, we definitely wait until after the assemblage to decide. You will find more information about the whole process in the blog entry about the assemblage.

Regarding the 1997 vintage specifically, I observed that many houses decided to declare either the 1997 or the 1998 vintage: the former was more favorable to Pinot Noir, the latter to Chardonnay. I think you will see that producers made a choice based on their house style. As far as Dom Pérignon is concerned, I have to confess that the verdict on the 1997 was particularly difficult to reach, but we were ultimately not in favor of it.

Best regards,