The 1996 Dom Perignon OEenotheque offers up layers of pastry, lemon, smoke and toastiness. At first deceptively understated, the wine turns positively explosive and layered on the palate, showing remarkable tension, elegance and power, all wrapped around a seriously intense frame. The balance between fruit and acidity is awesome. This is a marvelous DP OEeno. The OEeno is the same juice as the regular Dom Perignon, except the OEeno is aged on the cork while the regular DP is aged in crown-sealed bottles. Once disgorged, the OEenos gets a slightly lower dosage than is typical for the original release DP. This bottle was disgorged in 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026.
Four new releases of the flagship Dom Perignon are the highlights among these Champagnes from Moet & Chandon. There is a timeless elegance about Dom Perignon that I find comforting and reassuring, like a favorite restaurant or food. For that reason, nothing could have prepared me for the Champagnes I tasted recently with Chef de Caves Richard Geoffroy. While the 2002 Dom Perignon and 1996 Dom Perignon OEenotheque are both for the most part representative of what readers have come to expect from this house, the 2000 Dom Perignon Rose and 1990 Dom Perignon Rose OEenotheque are wines that push the envelope and push it hard. I can’t think of another winemaker at a Grande Marque who is willing to take these kinds of risks by turning well-established conventions on their head. Much of what I tasted reminded me of the experimental, searching spirit that defines so many of the smaller-production, artisan Champagnes being made today. As the saying goes ‘no guts no glory’ and there is plenty of both here. These wines are nothing short of magnificent.
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