Mostly, when friends say that I have an amazing job, I agree with them, but tend to temper that statement by pointing out that – while undoubtedly fun at times – there’s a lot of dull between the sparkle, a lot of spreadsheets between the wines, a lot of admin between the trips and tastings. This is undoubtedly so, but I must admit that yesterday’s little trip and tasting was one of those afternoons where the surreal marvellousness of what I’m able to do sometimes eclipsed the dullness of my morning of budgeting and editing.
For yesterday was the launch of Dom Pérignon Rosé 2002. Not many wines have “launches”, they have vintages, they have tastings, but they don’t necessarily “launch” iphonesque in press conferences and the like. Not so with champagne, and particularly for champagne owned by a fashion house…
This was very definitely a launch.
There were pretty black and pink invitations, there were taxis (for those who managed to be there on time – I didn’t) from the station, there was a beautiful venue, there was a speech, a tasting, some food, another speech, more tasting and then goodie bags! Oh yes, very definitely a launch!
The venue was the gorgeous Leighton House museum in Holland Park. I’d never been there before, so was rather taken aback when ushered in through the doors of what seemed like a grand but fairly normal town house and into an arabic-tiled, bedomed and – indeed – bepooled hall. Here, Richard Geoffroy (Chef de Cave for Dom Pérignon) sat, somewhat gnome-like (albeit a highly animated gnome) next to the pond and expounded the virtues of the new rosé as we tasted. The wine is exceptional, I must say. Completely not what I was expecting, it was quite a deep colour, incredibly vinous, pure, with deep fruit and spice qualities, but also a tense mineral and structural depth to it.
Following this, we were taken upstairs to enjoy the same wine with some carefully designed dishes. Unforunately, my poor little phone camera could not apparently cope with the overwhelming pinkness of the light and the photographs all look rather, well, livid. None the less the dishes were delicious. My favourite was the ceviche of Black Isle scallops, which was delicate and subtle, but the dessert course of little cubes of sponge, with candied clementine, sorbet and purée, crumble and saffron was also rather perfect. The massive turkish gambas was a tiny bit tough, but I’m quibbling.
Returning to the pool-room, we were then treated to 1993 Rosé Oenotheque, which was a stunning glass of wine and rather – if I’m honest – put the 2002 in the shade – although it does have 9 years in its favour (and will probably astonishingly expensive when it is released).
On departure, we were given a little goodie bag containing a set of the coasters that I had been rather coveting during the tasting. They are very pretty and what’s not to like about a goodie bag, eh?
Some of the proper grown up journalists who attended the press launch in the morning were a little disapproving of the whole affair, saying that it was all too over the top and a lot of unnecessary showiness. I know it’s all hype and foolishness, but it’s a lot of fun too – and I’m not a proper grown up journalist. It would be extremely foolish indeed (and not a little embarrassing) if the wine didn’t live up to it, but fortunately for Dom Pérignon, it does. The 2002 is a great rosé. I can’t afford it, but for those who can, it should prove an incredibly satisfying wine over the next ten to fifteen years.
I’m just happy with my coasters! Small pleasures…
One of my fellow Dom Pérignon tasters waxes poetic on her blog here: Winewomansong
Today’s stuck-in-head-song – America, Simon and Garfunkel
Today’s dinner – shepherds pie
Today’s drinks – NV Jansz
Today’s footwear – brown boots