The 1990 is the first Dom Perignon Rose to be released as part of the OEenotheque program and is also the year Richard Geoffroy was appointed to his post as Chef de Caves. This is a hypnotic, mesmerizing wine that is unlike any Champagne I have ever tasted. A burnished, deep orange, the wine emerges from the glass with delicate layers of truffles, mushrooms, tea and autumn leaves that recall a great, mature Grand Cru red Burgundy. Candied orange peel, dried roses, spices, apricot jam and white pepper are some of the notes that develop with air. Despite its vivid, textured personality the wine hovers on the palate in a weightless, ethereal style. Geoffroy served the 1990 Rose OEenotheque in the new Riedel Burgundy glass, which worked beautifully, although this drinking experience may not be for everybody. With air, the 1990 Rose OEenotheque naturally loses much of its effervescence and turns more wine-like. Though undeniably beautiful, this is a highly quirky wine that should only be purchased by readers familiar with aged rose Champagne or those with an open mind, because it will challenge many preconceptions of what Champagne is and can be. At an estimated $900 a bottle, it won't come cheaply, either. That said, it is marvelous and totally compelling. The 1990 Rose OEenotheque is 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, of which 20% is still Pinot. Geoffroy has plans to release a number of older roses, including the very rare 1966 sometime next year. The 1990 Rose OEenotheque is already rather forward, and I am not sure how it will age from here. I also have a personal preference for drinking roses a touch on the younger side, which readers should take into consideration when looking at my drinking window. The 1990 Rose OEenotheque spent ten years longer on its lees than the original release and received lower dosage. This bottle was disgorged in 2007. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2015.
Four new releases of the flagship Dom Perignon are the highlights among these Champagnes from Moet & Chandon. There is a timeless elegance about Dom Perignon that I find comforting and reassuring, like a favorite restaurant or food. For that reason, nothing could have prepared me for the Champagnes I tasted recently with Chef de Caves Richard Geoffroy. While the 2002 Dom Perignon and 1996 Dom Perignon OEenotheque are both for the most part representative of what readers have come to expect from this house, the 2000 Dom Perignon Rose and 1990 Dom Perignon Rose OEenotheque are wines that push the envelope and push it hard. I can't think of another winemaker at a Grande Marque who is willing to take these kinds of risks by turning well-established conventions on their head. Much of what I tasted reminded me of the experimental, searching spirit that defines so many of the smaller-production, artisan Champagnes being made today. As the saying goes 'no guts no glory' and there is plenty of both here. These wines are nothing short of magnificent.