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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

‘A GOOD WINE IS EASY,A GREAT ONE IS DIFFICULT’

As Dom Perignon launches its luxurious 2002 vintage wine in India,oenologist Vincent Chaperon tells Sharon Fernandes why the bubbly is so compatible with Indian food and culture.

Written by Sharon Fernandes |
May 28, 2011 3:58:45 am

“The spring was warm and dry,with no significant frost and near-perfect flowering. The summer was marked by long sunny periods,interspersed with regular cloudy and rainy spells…” How often would you remember what a whole season felt like? But this beautiful,partly cloudy summer of 2002 was special for the folks at Dom Perignon,who have launched their precious bubbly from this vintage. The brand is synonymous with celebration with its most renowned “sparkling wine” raised in elegant flutes for a toast at almost every momentous occasion around the world. The famous champagne brand Dom Perignon,was named after a Benedictine monk,who became the cellar master of Hautvillers Abbey in 1668,and was determined to create “the best wine in the world”. Vincent Chaperon,oenologist at Dom Perignon,talks about their latest offering,the Dom Perignon 2002.

What is so distinctive about this vintage compared to the previous one—2000?

There is a certain vision we associate with what we call the perfect champagne. There is a balance we look for which has to be soft and not aggressive. Each year it is a different cycle. Each year we have different grapes,we try to guide the ‘aromatics’ in the right way,there are many factors like the vineyard,the arrangement of the leaves,the soil,the temperature,the date of picking etc. that have to be looked at. The date of picking is very important. For 2002,the harvest began from September 12 -28. Even the blending of the wine is very crucial,and the alkali fermentation which creates the famous bubbles. So 2000 and 2002 are like brothers and sisters,same,yet different. 2002 was a great year for the champagne.

Was there a bad year for Dom Perignon?

One year out of 10,you get a perfect wine. There are many years when we have to throw the whole stock out. 2001 was like that. To do a good wine is easy,across the world,to make a great wine is difficult. We also always keep a sample of each year to know what goes right or wrong. And a vintage being ready is dependent on the maturation for each yield. Sometimes a ’96 can be ready before a ’95. But yes,there are times when we have bad years.

Is your brand trying hard to make its presence felt in South Asia?

For India,which is a big country you have to consider many things. A lot of people are now looking for a luxury product. There is a culture that appreciates history and expects bespoke and special products. I am here to explain the uniqueness of our product. It also carries a lot of history.

Do you think it pairs well with Indian cuisine?

There is a lot of maturity in our champagne,we do not let it out before seven years,that is the minimum maturation level. So it does develop a smoky and creamy texture. This creamy texture,goes well with the spicy food not just in India,but also even in Thailand. It plays well with spices and balances their hot character. It also works to clean the palette. I know though that it does not go with some chocolates. It is a better option than say red wine (which has more phenolics) and does not work with hot Indian food. Our champagne also goes well with Cantonese and Japanese cuisine.

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