Song & Dance
FINDING HARMONY IN CHAMPAGNE
- Richard Geoffroy serves as the custodian of Dom Pérignon's history and style
Chef de Cave
SINCE 1990, RICHARD GEOFFROY has presided over one of the world's best-known luxury brands. As Chef de Cave for Dom Pérignon, he calls the shots, exerting sole infl uence on whether or not a vintage is declared. Since the luxury Champagne house only makes vintage wine, Geo roy sees himself as the custodian of a legacy that dates back to 1921. Apart from creating the highly revered sparkling wines, Geo roy also travels the world to preach the gospel of the stately cellar and share insights into the singular character of its vintage dated Champagnes. Recent stops in Canada were staged to introduce the controversial 2003 Dom Pérignon, which saw a vintage marred by spring frost then an intense heat wave that necessitated the earliest harvest since 1822.
WAS IT A HARD DECISION TO GO AHEAD WITH THE 2003 DOM PÉRIGNON?
We had to take the risk. The challenge was to manage the potential strength, which is not usually the character of Dom Pérignon. Intensity is the signature and memory of the 2003 vintage.
WHICH PRESENTS THE GREATER CHALLENGE: CHARDONNAY OR PINOT NOIR?
There is no grape variety more demanding than Pinot Noir, nothing more fi ckle from vineyard to maturation of the wine. It's so easy to lose its potential. One has to be true to the spirited, lively, vibrant character of Pinot Noir, without working it too hard, and let it sing and dance.
DOES THAT MAKE DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ THE MORE DIFFICULT WINE TO PRODUCE?
Dom Pérignon Rosé works on the scheme of a duality, but that's not to say on contradictory characters. It's mature and yet so lifted — nothing winey, ponderous, nor fruit sweet. So, in essence, it's Pinot Noir, yet so creamy textured and neither tannic nor dried out. The duality is in the colour as well, as much an expression of youth (vivid) as of maturity (with a tinge of copper/coral). I have always considered the Rosé the most challenging one of the two blends at Dom Pérignon. We have to take even more risks to make the statement of Dom Pérignon Rosé bold and provocative enough. No risk, no reward.