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July 18, 2014

Dom Perignon ‘Plenitude’ P2 1998

DPP2

Following on from our extremely popular offer, Oenotheque 1996 we are delighted to launch its successor, the exclusive new release of Dom Perignon’s Plenitude 1998. Earlier this year Dom Perignon announced that they would be changing the name Oenotheque to Plenitude. They first introduced the concept of Oenotheque back in 2000, which roughly translates as wine library. However, they have decided to change the name to reflect the rhythm of their Champagne’s three plenitudes. For Dom Perignon this Oenotheque/ Plenitude represents the epitome of their winemaking and late release prestige Champagne.

The prestige cuvée’s winemaker Vincent Chaperon thinks that most consumers do not fully understand the important lifecycles of a Champagne’s maturation period, “the ageing is a unique process which sees the Champagne go through a metamorphosis”, naturally progressing through different “windows of opportunity, or plenitudes”. As such Dom Perignon have created a Champagne that evolves through three plenitudes in life: the first plenitude forming between seven and eight years, which is when the standard Dom Perignon is released. The second plenitude comes between 12-15 years; this was previously referred to as the first Oenotheque, yet will now be called Plenitude 2, or P2, for the sake of brevity. The third window of plenitude forms after 30 years, following more than 20 years on its lees; this will now be labelled as P3. Patience is a virtue here, as Dom Perignon will be launching its first P3 release from the 1970 and 1982 vintages this year.

In essence, the rebranding is aimed at simplifying the process for consumers; the extended ageing on lees and the different lifespans of disgorgement subtlety change the profile of the wine: disgorgement is the process of taking dead lees or sediment out of the bottle. In addition to this the P2s and P3s are also sealed with a cork while ageing on their lees, while standard Dom Perignon (P1) is closed with a crown cap during time spent on its lees, then stopped with a cork after disgorgement. As Chaperon states “The crown seal is good for consistency and better for avoiding any off-flavours, but the advantage of the cork stopper is that we have observed that after 10 years the cork is better at preserving the freshness and vibrancy of the wine, so we take the risk of greater variability.”

Dom Perignon ’standard’ releases around two million bottles a year, yet a tiny part of the wine is kept back on its lees for extended ageing and only released when the Chef de Cave (Chief Winemaker) Richard Geoffrey feels the second or third maturity peak is reached. This means that the Plenitude experiences extended ageing which imparts more complexity, viscosity, balance and intense flavours, altering Dom Perignon’s elegant style into a powerhouse that can improve in bottle for forty years. Plenitude is so multifaceted and commanding that it can be paired with some meats, while its finish is seemingly everlasting. The Oenotheque receives lower dosage, thereby exhibiting greater fruit purity, expressing the true quality for the terroir and minerality. Richard Geoffrey plainly explains the evolution: P1 (Dom Perignon) is “all about harmony, P2 is about energy, propelling it to a third level of integration and complexity.”

We were invited to the launch of P2 last month where we tasted the new release. The 1998 growing season experienced spectacular heat in August, followed by two weeks of rain in September. Superb weather at harvest meant the grapes arrived with excellent health. P2 has an intense bouquet, with notes of honeysuckle, orange peel, lemon, wonderful notes of hazelnut and early signs of lovely mushroom flavours. The palate is incredibly vibrant and opulent with wonderful flavour definition. The finish is harmonious yet reserved, which suggests it will improve in bottle for another 40 years. Plenitude is the height of prestige Champagne and its global recognition means that it is now replacing Dom Perignon standard as the house’s most desirable Champagne, sadly quantities are minuscule and collectors should look to collect these on release, before demand drives prices higher.

Vintage

Juhlin points

Price

1998

95

£545

1996

97

£550

1995

96

£550

1993

94

£750

1992

95

£900

1990

96

£1,050

Dom Perignon ‘Plenitude’ P2 1998, 3×75 - £545 or £663.47 incl. duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni – 95 points
‘The 1998 Dom Pérignon P-2 (formerly Oenothèque) is quite reticent today. What else is new? These second -plenitude wines are often very tight when they are first released, which is very much the case here. Still, it is quite evident the 1998 is a bit more tender and pliant than the 1996. Today, the 1998 still hasn’t turned the corner, but it is quite pretty and expressive. This is a terrific offering.’ Drink 2018 – 2038

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