2008 Moet & Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon

Year: 2008
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 96+
Vinous Media: 98
James Suckling: 98
Jeb Dunnuck: 98
Decanter: 96
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.5%
Price :
$179.95

2018 WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100: #5

"There's power to this graceful Champagne, with the vivid acidity swathed in a fine, creamy mousse and flavors of toasted brioche, kumquat, pastry cream, candied ginger and poached plum that dance across the palate. An underpinning of smoky mineral gains momentum on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2033. -AN " (WS)

"The finest release of this iconic cuvée since the 1996 vintage, the 2008 Dom Pérignon wafts from the glass with an incipiently complex bouquet of Meyer lemon, green apple, dried white flowers and oyster shell, with only subtle hints of the smoky, autolytic aromas that have been such a prominent signature of recent releases. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and complete, its notable flesh and amplitude controlled by incisive acids, with a youthfully exuberant but elegant mousse and a long, beautifully delineated finish. Considering the sheer size of this cuvée, it's a remarkable achievement and a fitting release with which to conclude Richard Geoffroy's tenure as chef de cave. Given the 2008's intensity and balance, I suspect purists will be anticipating later disgorgements with lower dosage and more time on the lees with particular enthusiasm. Tasted three times, with consistent results.

The eagerly anticipated 2008 Dom Pérignon was at last released at the end of 2018, and happily, I had the chance to taste it with the charismatic outgoing Chef de Caves, Richard Geoffroy, at an event in Beaune. I subsequently retasted the wine several times at my office in the United States. As the release of this vintage marks Geoffroy's retirement-effective January 1, 2019-after 28 years with Dom Pérignon, it also marks an important event in Dom Pérignon's history, commemorated by a special label. It's fair to say that Geoffroy's tenure has transformed this cuvée, and what he has achieved is certainly impressive. Since 2003, which few Champagne houses declared as a vintage and which Geoffroy made waves by opting to release, Dom Pérignon has been produced in every year with the sole exception of 2007, reflecting a decision to embrace the personality of each vintage more wholeheartedly. While cynics might observe that this decision has obvious commercial appeal, the wines have largely justified it-even if some vintages are obviously stronger than others. Geoffroy has also sought to pick riper fruit, harvesting late by the standards of the region in pursuit of more mature grapes. Especially for a cuvée of this size (production is confidential, but most estimates land north of five million bottles), that's decidedly unusual, reflecting an admirable willingness to take risks in pursuit of quality. Dom Pérignon today delivers more flesh, vinosity and texture than it did two decades ago. To my palate, the wine would be even more exciting if those qualities, admirable in themselves, could be married with greater energy and incisiveness-and perhaps slightly lower dosage-but that's likely an unreasonable counsel of perfection at this scale. Geoffroy's successor, Vincent Chaperon, has worked with his predecessor for the last 13 years, and it will be exciting to follow Dom Pérignon's evolution under his direction.

In any case, the 2008 is unlikely to disappoint readers, as this ripe but racy vintage has synergized beautifully with the Dom Pérignon style. As readers will know, winemaking here is quite reductive, with the vins clairs vinified in stainless steel on the lees with full malolactic fermentation, followed by bottling and eight to ten years sur lattes before the first disgorgement. Yet the 2008 is less overtly autolytic and reductive in style out of the gates than the last handful of Dom Pérignon releases. Geoffroy's perception of the 2008 vintage is very much linked to reflection on the 1996 vintage, a heralded year that he feels was generally picked prematurely, before the fruit had attained full phenolic development. And while the 1996 Dom Pérignon is one of several undeniably superb wines produced in that year, Geoffroy's observation does appear to be supported by the disappointing evolution of more than a few 1996s today. With the similarly styled 2008 vintage, the Dom Pérignon team therefore sought riper grapes, and the wine is clearly richer and-as Geoffroy puts it-more muscular than the 1996, though cut from similar cloth. To my palate, it's also the finest Dom Pérignon since the 1996, displaying a racier, more lively profile than the 2002, and it should be a very promising candidate for extended bottle age. In addition to my tasting note on the 2008, I've also taken this opportunity to publish a couple of recent notes on later disgorgements of Dom Pérignon and Dom Pérignon Rosé." (WA)

"The 2008 Dom Pérignon is once again stunning. More than anything else, I am surprised by how well the 2008 drinks given all the tension and energy it holds. Then again, that is precisely what makes 2008 such a unique vintage – namely that the best wines are so chiseled and yet not at all austere. Lemon peel, almond, mint, smoke and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted, but it is the wine’s textural feel, drive and persistence that elevate it into the realm of the sublime. The 2008 will be even better with time in the cellar, but it is absolutely phenomenal even today, in the early going. Three recent bottles have all been nothing short of magnificent. " (VM)

"The best Dom since 2002. A vintage with very restrained, powerful style that has been released non-sequentially after the 2009. This has a lighter stamp of highly curated, autolytic, toasty aromas than many recent releases. Instead, this delivers super fresh and intense aromas of lemons, grapefruit and blood-orange peel. Incredible freshness here. The palate has a very smoothly delivered, berry-pastry thread with light, sweet spices, stone fruit and fine citrus fruit. This really delivers. Drink now or hold." (JS)

"The 2008 Dom Pérignon is the first time the estate has released a wine out of order (the 2009 was released before the 2008) but the estate loved the wine so much they felt it warranted additional aging. This is a rich, powerful wine that still shows incredible purity and elegance, with a stacked, concentrated feel on the palate. It’s rare to find such a mix of ripe, pure, concentrated fruit paired with this level of purity, focus, and precision. This is a legendary Dom that surpasses all the great vintages of Dom I have experience with, including the 1990, 1996, and 2002." (JD)

"The super-fresh nose combines notions of smoky flint, lemon and wet chalk, yet hints at generosity. Minuscule bubbles create immense creaminess on a palate that dances on its light feet and channels freshness into poise. There’s a promise of future richness and depth, always with ozone freshness and lasting length." -Ann Krebiehl MW, Decanter (December 2018)

Winery Notes:
The Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 celebrates the legacy from Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon Chef de Cave, to his successor, Vincent Chaperon.

For 28 years, Richard Geoffroy has been the bearer of the Dom Pérignon creative ambition, unswervingly committed to an aesthetic ideal. He has shaped the Dom Pérignon project in his own style, and driven each vintage further through excellence. Time is fundamental in the equation of Dom Pérignon.

After guiding Vincent Chaperon on this long path of initiation, knowledge, and mastery, Richard Geoffroy is now ready to hand over this intangible heritage: the Dom Pérignon inspiration and creation.

Vincent has spent 13 years working alongside Richard Geoffroy, sensing, mastering, creating. He brings to the Dom Pérignon project his sensitivity to viticulture, his commitment to progress. And now it falls to him to pursue the Dom Pérignon quest.

The 2008 vintage is historic for Dom Pérignon. It is a tale of a vision shared by Richard Geoffroy and Vincent Chaperon, a complete dialogue between two men and nature.

THE 2008 HARVEST:
Dull, grey skies were common during 2008, despite it being a year in a decade with plentiful and impressive amounts of sunshine. Spring and summer brought the same lack of sunlight and the same longing for high temperatures. Just when the harvest was getting under way (15 September), weather conditions finally achieved perfection : blue skies and prolonged north - easterly winds. Picking was spread out over a long period to benefit from this positive turn of events. The grapes were riper than anyone dared hope, and had truly outstanding balance. The vines were in perfect health.

TASTING NOTES:
On the nose: The opening bouquet is complex and luminous, a mingling of white flowers, citrus and stone fruit. The overall effect is enhanced by the freshness of aniseed and crushed mint. The final aromas are starting to show spicy, woody and roasted notes.

On the palate:
After a long period of reluctance, this wine is finally opening up. There is complete balance between the nose and the palate. Its slender, minimalist, pure, toned, athletic character now also expresses itself with warmth. The fruit is pronounced and clear. The vintage’s characteristic acidity is incredibly well - integrated in this wine. Its persistence is mainly aromatic, grey, smoky and highly promising.