In June 2018, Dom Pérignon tantalisingly revealed the keenly anticipated new vintage, Dom Pérignon 2008, during a launch event at the stunning La Résidence de France in Kensington, London. In a decade characterised by sunny and warm summers, the grey and overcast skies of 2008 were unexpected and unwelcome.
“It wasn’t proper ripening weather… so we accepted it would be an average vintage,” Geoffroy reminisced. However, nothing in Champagne is a foregone conclusion. Indeed, as in 2000 and 2006, a miraculous September was the saviour of the vintage. As the pickers began harvesting the grapes, the weather transitioned from fine to outstanding, prompting Geoffroy to decelerate the picking process. The 2008 harvest was consequently one of the longest ever (close to a month) and maturity levels surpassed all initial expectations. According to Geoffroy, “It was a miracle year.”
Timing was the crucial component tin 2008 and Geoffroy attributes the success of the vintage to the lessons learned from 1996. When Dom Pérignon 1996 was produced, it was believed that acidity was the key to ageing. This has since been shown to be a misconception and phenolic compounds are now considered the key factor in determining champagne’s ability to age.
Although making clear that “there are never two identical vintages,” Geoffroy noted the similarities between 1996 and 2008. Both had high acidity, however the 1996 vintage was picked far too early, when ripeness levels were too low. Without pushing for full ripeness, there was a lower phenolic content in the grapes, hence some 1996 champagnes are now beginning to show their age. “Without 1996, we would not have been able to stretch 2008 as far and leverage it to another level. There is way more to 2008 than 1996 – more substance,” Geoffroy said.
“Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 contributes to the overall understanding of the 2008 vintage in Champagne… it was a miracle year” — Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave
Launched after Dom Pérignon 2009 – the first non-consecutive release in the history of the house – the wait for Dom Pérignon 2008 has been longer than expected, as it required more time on the lees to balance the bright acidity. Geoffroy informed us at the launch event that Dom Pérignon 2008 would undergo longer post-disgorgement bottle ageing, in order to develop the required maturity and complexity, before being released into the market in early 2019.
Also revealed during the unveiling in June, was that there would be two releases: the regular Dom Pérignon 2008, to be made available later; and an ultra-exclusive special release, Dom Pérignon Legacy Edition 2008, to be made available then. Although both bottles contain the same champagne, the Legacy Edition was disgorged slightly earlier and released as a tribute to the transition of Chef de Cave from Richard Geoffroy to Vincent Chaperon, which occurred in January 2019.
The special edition features the names of both winemakers on the label and is the ultimate rarity, marking a once-in-a-generation occurrence; Geoffroy has been Chef de Cave at Dom Pérignon for an impressive 28 years, and has produced 14 blanc vintages and 11 rosé vintages in that time. Officially released in August 2018, demand far out-stripped supply, with our limited stocks selling out in just a few days.
Our next Dom Pérignon 2008 experience came in November, when we hosted a once-in-a-lifetime Dom Pérignon Vertical 1990-2009: A Richard Geoffroy Retrospective, a comparison of all 15 Blanc vintages and 7 of the 11 Rosé vintages declared during Geoffroy’s tenure. The 23 champagnes tasted incorporated all three levels of Plénitude – a concept initiated by Geoffroy to highlight the unique evolutionary stages of Dom Pérignon’s development – and included in the line-up was Dom Pérignon Legacy Edition 2008.
The Legacy Edition was a most fitting tribute to the man who has done more than any other to build the reputation of this great wine in his inimitable career as Dom Pérignon Chef de Cave. From 1990 until 2018 Richard Geoffroy sculpted a peerless range, and at the beginning of this year, he handed the reins to a worthy successor, 42-year-old Vincent Chaperon, who has been shadowing the master since 2005.
And now finally, with the transition complete, it is with great pleasure that we finally welcome the official release of Dom Pérignon 2008, which entered the market on Tuesday 8th January. As is typical for the house, Dom Pérignon 2008 is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay. It has had more than 12 months post-disgorgement ageing on the cork. After 6 long months of anticipation and intrigue, arguably the most awaited champagne of the century is finally available.
The Finest Bubble have limited quantities available, please contact Nick or Chris to secure your allocation now.
Current pricing (10th January 2019) – £708.00 per 6*75cl under bond.
If you are interested in purchasing four or more cases, please ask us for a quote.
|Dom Pérignon 2008 | 19+/20
50% PN, 50% CH | Lees Ageing: 8 Years | Dosage: 4 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 1 Year
|Jancis Robinson MW | 18.5/20
“Brisk, tiny mousse. Notably rich nose – very Dom P! There’s a hint of something marine on the nose (Michael Broadbent’s oyster shells?) and then extremely tight and lacy – it somehow reminded me of a sponge because of springy texture. Masses of energy here, as well as the usual flirtatiousness. It will continue to open out, I’m sure. I tasted it very cool and then went back to it at almost room temperature a couple of hours later and it stood up extremely well. The official Geoffroy description of this vintage is ‘athletic’ and ‘vertical’. ‘All 2008s are bright in terms of fruit; we want ours to shine white light. We have deliberately warmed it up a bit, working on the muscle to better integrate the acidity.”
|Antonio Galloni MW | 98/100
“The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous, but quite remarkably, it was even more open when I tasted it a year ago. Bright, focused and crystalline in its precision, the 2008 is going to need a number of years before it is at its best. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the 2008 its chiseled, bright profile. Several recent bottles have all been magnificent. What I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions.”
|Essi Avellan MW | 97/100
“There is a striking easiness to this seductively fruity and soft vintage of Dom Pérignon that from first sight might come across obvious. Overt, inviting nose of pristine, sunkissed fruit with exotic fruit nuances. At this early stage it comes with a delicately toasty undertone with ripe peach, lemon sorbet and yellow apple. Plush, rounded and succulent palate with caressing mousse. Plenty of appeal on the intense, crisp-enough, wide open palate that is beautifully textured. At a closer look there is in-built power underneath the first impression of a charm and warmth. Highly enjoyable already now with many more nuances waiting to be revealed over time.”