Of all the wine world mysteries, the quality/quantity ratio of Dom Pérignon is one of the biggest, as far as I’m concerned. The house of Moet Chandon turns out vast quantities of this prestige cuvee (they won’t say just how much but it must be millions of bottles) and yet the quality remains consistently and even astonishingly high. Some of my best Champagne memories are of certain bottles of Dom Pérignon –like the 1978 I tasted thanks to my friend Jeff a while back or the 1985 Dom Pérignon rose I had with dinner last year at Jean Georges in New York or more recently, the phenomenal 1993 Dom Pérignon Oenothéque, which was simply one of richest, most complex wines I’ve had in a long time.
The Dom Pérignon Oenothéque is a special bottling; there are only sixteen vintages in existence (so far) and they are only released from the house when director Richard Geoffrey deems the wines ready to drink. So when I heard that the next Oenothéque had just been released (the 1995 vintage) and would be sold in conjunction with the “regular” 1995 Dom Pérignon, I rushed over to the Plaza Hotel, where the tastings were held.
The two Doms are packaged together in a in an elaborate black wooden box called Side by Side with a retail price of $550. And the wines? Well, as every Champagne drinker knows, the 1995 vintage was terrific; producing wines of enormous depth and longevity. The two were similar to the extent that they were both possessed of the same concentration and finesse; but the “regular” Dom (disgorged in 2002) was more aromatically developed while the “Oeno” (disgorged in 2006) was simply more developed overall: Geoffrey’s word for it? “Magnified.” Together, the two Doms were simply stunning- Champagnes of contemplation more than celebration. If I had the money, I would certainly buy both though I could do without the elaborate box. I wonder if that might mean a few dollars off?