Tag Archives: Dom Pérignon

Dom Pérignon P2 1998

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From the fields of France to the tables in Barcelona, we have been on some amazing journeys with Dom Pérignon. The latest adventure has us standing over the Californian desert horizon of Joshua Tree, drawing parallels between a 100 million year old natural park with its rich history of change and Dom Pérignon’s 1998 vintage which is now, according to Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, entering its Second Pléntitude on its own journey through time and change.

The Second Pléntitude, or P2 as they call it, happens around year fifteen in the champagne aging process. According to Geoffroy, champagne has three peak stages: The first at around seven years, the second at fifteen and the final stage around thirty. For the sake of comparison, a typical champagne is aged around three years. When you contrast the aging of Joshua Tree and how it has had many stages created and affected by nature you see how the stages of champagne are a small mirror to a vast landscape, both displaying their beautiful triumphs as a result of mother nature.

I love champagne, of course, it is greatly heightened by the master craft and artisanship of a wine like Dom, but I don’t drink it because of the name on the label. I love champagne because I’ve never had a bad time with it. It evokes memories of celebration, joy, friendship, laughter, perfect sunsets and even perfect sunrises. When we toast with champagne it is that sparkle in our eyes that effortlessly compliments the golden movements of the silent symphony inside that golden glass leaving your memories to float up into the night-sky and dance among the stars.

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Dinner with Dom Pérignon

Dinner with Dom Pérignon in Hautvillers, France

It can only be described as “like a dream” to dine with the winemakers of Dom Pérignon in a glowing mansion in Épernay on the Moët & Chandon estate. If I let my mind wander from the conversation I could sit back and imagine that it must have not been unlike this to dine in a miniature version of Versailles. But if anything could outshine the grandeur of the room it was the incredible chocolate soufflé created by Chef de Cuisine Pascal Tingaud for us that evening as a perfect finish to a meal paired with Dom Pérignon Rosé vintages. It was served in a large soufflé dish and bought around to each person family style at the table… sometimes twice. I asked the chef if he wouldn’t mind sharing this heavenly dessert recipe for my own dinner parties at home in New York.

See below for the recipe of the night’s star dish by Chef de Cuisine Pascal Tingaud

Dinner with Dom Pérignon in Hautvillers, France (more…)

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Dom Pérignon

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We first began our journey to “Decode Dom Pérignon” in Barcelona, questioning the idea of champagne and trying to understand it beyond the simple pleasures of drinking. The second part of our discovery took us to the birthplace of champagne, a sacred abbey high atop a hill in Hautvillers where a monk named Dom Pérignon lived in from 1668 until his death in 1715. It was here Dom Pérignon gave birth to champagne as we know it. 

As we walked the grounds of the cloisters it was easier to understand the philosophy of today’s champagne makers of Dom Pérignon. They come here, to this tranquil place that is the spirit and soul of Dom, to reflect on the past and think about the future. It was one of those perfect days. Crisp, damp and cool in the morning opening like a pathway to a glorious sun filled afternoon. I stood on the grounds of the abbey where the first champagne was created and closed my eyes to the smell of old stone, chalk, and earth while the wind whipped the trees around me making a sparkling symphony of the leaves while the golden sunlight danced between the shadows. If a place could sparkle like a glass of champagne, this was the place and in the spirit of inspiration, like with Dom Pérignon, could leave your thoughts amongst the stars. 

Following the benedictine rule set by the Sun King Louis IX which transformed France into a country of luxury and craftsmanship, he cared for the vineyards in great detail and through years of contemplation and study transformed the wine making process in three important ways. First, in place of manually stomping grapes with your feet he used a large machine to separate the juice of the grapes from the skin. Second was the blend. He had the idea to blend a variety of grapes from the Champagne villages. Lastly, which lead to the revaluation of champagne, he started the aging process in bottles as opposed to wooden casks which were used in the 17th century. It was through this process he discovered the creation of bubbles in the 2nd fermentation. 

The production of Dom Pérignon is far beyond technical. Having now spent many lunches and dinners with the Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy and Vincent Chaperon they speak of the wine making process in such a romantic and idyllic way it is a constant reminder that we are speaking about something which comes from the earth. It is organic, and most of all, it is a gift from nature

One of the most poingoint points by Geoffry shared over our tasting of 11 Dom Pérignon vintages was  in the way champagne lingers which leads to memory. Memory is a constant in my own work. I take photographs like memories, to see the way it felt, to remember the beautiful moments. Each time I am so fortunate to find myself with a glass of Dom Pérignon I take in the smell which brings back memories of celebration, successes, all those magical nights faded with laughter and distant sparkling lights. Of course, as a winemaker, memory to him refers to the harvest, the conditions of the year that make the DNA of the vintage. The memory of characteristics from vintage to vintage. For example, the 2002 being elegant, refined, creamy, perfectly balanced while the 2003 is robust, bright, exciting, crisp. The memory of tradition and the relationship to time to project themselves forward into the future. It’s amazing to me that you can find so much life lived in one sip of champagne. 

Welcome to the home of Dom Pérignon and the birthplace of champagne.    Visiting the Dom Pérignon, the birthplace of Champagne.     Visiting the Dom Pérignon, the birthplace of Champagne. Visiting the Dom Pérignon, the birthplace of Champagne. Visiting the Dom Pérignon, the birthplace of Champagne. (more…)

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“This is not a Dinner”

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I recently found myself with this incredible opportunity to go to Spain and spend two days “decoding Dom Pérignon“. With the Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy and culinary mastermind Ferran Adrià, we were to have the gustatory experience of a lifetime joining them as brought back elBulli’s most famous “snacks” that took the global gastronomy world by storm. What Dom Pérignon was hoping to achieve through this solo tasting and minimallistic experience was a study into the four facets of their newly released 2005 vintage which are: Minerality, Intensity, Seamlessness and Harmony. Ferran built the entire menu around these four themes, making the wine the centre or “sun” and the snacks like orbiting planets orbiting around it.

We were seated at a mirrored table in a dark room, no utensils. Waiters dressed in black delivered the first wave of snacks based around Minerality. The experience would be broken up into four chapters based on the characteristics of the champagne. With each snack would come instructions, “eat this all in one bite.”, “eat this in two bites and drink this in-between.” It was insane. Things were surprisingly sweet when it looked salty, weightless when it looked dense. Everything you think you know about food you had to throw out the window.

I had parmesan ice cream, deconstructed olives, crunchy raviolis made form a seaweed shell with a lemon filling. This was not at all what I would think of when I think of ravioli but that’s precisely what Ferran loves to ask: What makes ravioli, ravioli? Because it’s made of pasta or because it’s a pocket filled?

After the first chapter was completed the room (or, what I thought was a room) changed suddenly as the walls began to move and open up towards the sky high ceiling, revealing the other tables of guests. The lighting changed from a sharp contrast to a warm soft glow following a change in music changing the entire mood for the participates. Then, just as with Farran’s approach to food, my whole experience changed.

The experience went well beyond the the thrill of being one of the first people to try a new Dom Pérignon Vintage. It taught me to think about creativity in a different way than just what is. How can you take something we all know and try to understand it more? How can you think one way and then teach yourself to think it again totally differently. The slogan for the elBulli Foundation is “Feed Creativity”… he did that and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

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Minerality

-Mimetic peanuts

-Hibiscus and peanut palet

-Walnut catanias

-Yoghurt pistachulines

-Beetroot and yoghurt meringue / profiterole

-Mango croquant leaf and marigold

Dom_Pérignon_elBulli_dinner_Vintage_2005_005 (more…)



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