At a recent tasting with Vincent Chaperon, one of the senior winemaking team at Dom Pérignon, he introduced us to the new vintage of 2005 rosé. It is some eighteen months since the 2005 blanc was launched and that had very forward fruit and was only made in a relatively small volume. Vincent started by telling us 2005 was seen as a better year to show off rosé, perhaps better than blanc and as a result DP rosé 2005 was made in about double the usual quantity; we know that is a pretty large number of bottles, just DP always keep such things a secret! Not only was it made in abundance, but it was also a year with one of the highest amounts of red wine, some 27% added to the blend to bring the colour and rosé personality. Vincent went on to explain that DP rosé is always a champagne with its own character and it is not DP blanc with some colour. Indeed it isn’t, DP’s goal is to push the envelope and take pinot noir to new limits.
The typical sources of Pinot Noir for the red wine is from the three areas of Ay, Hautvillers and Bouzy, mainly because these villages have predominantly south facing slopes, so the pinot noir has plenty of time to develop full ripeness, which bring the fruit character and colour they need from the red wine. Ay provides the biggest chunk of Pinot Noir for their red wine, if you get to taste red wine from Ay, you always see this lovely rich colour and spicy red fruits.
The red wine for the DP champagnes is made by fermenting the pinot noir grapes in open tanks, they punch down the grapes several times a day and after about 3-4 days maceration they pull out the skins. Lots of colour and fruit has been gained and longer would bring too much tannin, this is fermented dry to around 11-11.% alcohol which is high for champagne, but low if compared to burgundy. The red wine is blended into the still white wine before it is bottled and goes off to the cellar for its second fermentation.
The vintage of 2005 was well known for being a tricky one with the weather challenging much of the growing season. As rains came in September it was a calculated decision at DP to not pick early before the rain caused rot issues; they chose to leave the Pinot fruit hanging on the vine to get fully ripe and accept a fair amount of fruit would get rot and be left behind.
All the wines were served in bowl shaped wine glasses, which allow more expression of the Pinot Noir fruit.
Dom Perignon Rosé 2005
A large dollop of red wine some 27% makes this quite different to Dom Pérignon blanc and it is more of a shouting from the rooftops rose than a champagne with a hint of pink. No mistaking this as a rosé with a strong pink colour with a fine stream of bubbles. Initially seemed quite tight on the nose, hints of rosé-petals and raspberry came over first and after a little more time in the glass plenty of red fruit character started to lift the nose, with spice and black cherry coming through on the palate and some hints of tropical fruits like guava follow through on the palate. Flavours stay with you for a long time, a youngster with fresh and balanced acidity that has the potential to develop a lot. 18.5/20
This is the closest of all the rosé’s to its blanc siblings, probably because 2004 was a chardonnay dominant year and the blanc had exquisitely rich fruit from the chardonnay and a good chunk of that personality is here in the rosé. The rosé comes from the addition of 24% red wine and that creamy peaches and cream nose hits you first, very seductive and then you start to get the raspberry and spice notes with lots of strawberry. The flavours all come together on the palate with lots of peaches and nectarine and some hints of tropical fruits. Vincent likened this style of rosé to the 1970. I unfortunately can’t comment on that! An amazingly pleasing and giving rosé fantastic now and will be fascinating to see how this amount of fruit develops over time. 18/20
We often expect the champagnes from 2003 to be inferior to the vintages either side of it, however this one challenged that generalisation! Was a small harvest, spring frost and extreme heat in August pushed the Chardonnay fruit to extreme ripeness. The pinot noir for the red wine was picked at extreme ripeness. This shows through in the rosé, it has lots of fruit and personality, pretty nose, quite scented with spice and orange and bundles of red fruits. The flavours come together on the palate with plenty of fruit, good balance of acidity, nice spice edge to the cherry and bramble like fruit and lingers long on the palate. 18/20
The 2002 was obvious from the get go, no waiting around for it to come out of itself and today it is showing lots of fruit with more than a hint of tropicalness. Its developing some creaminess and has lots of dark cherry and strawberry character. On the palate there is elegance in its balance; lots of power from the spread of fruits and a mouth feel quite different to the other vintages. I don’t often comment on mouth-feel, but this has that velvety character to the fruit that I judge in the middle of my tongue. This has the most elegance and beauty, it’s subtle, yet opulent and lingers long. I think we will see this champagne give even more in the future. 19.0+/20
A great way to see the early development of Dom Pérignon Rose, when they are just 11 years old they are starting to just show you a hint of what is there to discover if you can keep your hands off them for a few years! These roses will develop for at least ten years and some of them like 2002 and 2005 will go on for many years longer.