What's the Deal?
Dom. Is there any wine with such a reputation that three mere letters can not only invoke the wine, but also an entire amazing lifestyle that’s become inextricably linked to this famed Champagne? But sometimes I wonder if all this status as one of the most iconic, powerful brands in the world somehow obscures a more important point—it continues to be one the best made wines on the planet. A few starting points: unlike its LVMH stablemate and rival for top dog, Krug, Dom is only vintage Champagne. That means there's no “house style” where different vintages are blended to achieve a consistent result—typified by that other LVMH brethren Veuve Clicquot with their famed Yellow Label. It also means that we don’t get Dom every year. For example, there's is no such things as Dom Pérignon 2007. Or 2001. There was a decision at the winery in those years that they weren’t confident enough in the grapes harvested to make superlative wine, so they simply didn’t make it. 2010 was a tricky year with many Champagne houses not making a vintage wine, so it was a bit of a surprise when Dom said—we will. The issue of the vintage—heavy rain in August—spared most of the Eperny-based Grand Cru vineyards, and while with many companies one might see this as spin, LVMH places such an insane amount of emphasis on brand protection that it’s inconceivable that they’d ever make a Dom for something as trite as short-term financial gains.
What's in the Bottle?
A Dom quite different than most I’ve had. Dom ages their wines significantly before bestowing them on the public, so this 11-year-old bottle is actually the current release. But notwithstanding its age, it still has a bit of the young thoroughbred, all feisty and ambitious and ready to take on the world. This manifests itself in a distinct tropical series of notes that are unique for the usually more staid label. Chief among them is pineapple, though green mango also makes an appearance on my palate. But less you think this wine is all freewheelin’ fun, there’s also bracing citrus—tangerine, maybe some lime zest. All of it makes for an immensely enjoyable glass right now, but, according to Chef de Caves Vincent Chaperon, there’s a great base for ageability here and he cites that 2003 and 2004 might be comparable vintages going forward. Wine seer Jancis Robinson suggests that this might be a candidate for a P2 version, where Dom cellars exceptional vintages to be released with significant age (and at great cost) in the decades to come.
Should I Buy?
Well, it's....pricey. But if it makes you feel better to spend this sort of money, it's a good deal in that they allegedly made 20% less wine thanks to the tricky vintage, and that if you cellar it, you will likely see decent appreciation. But on the more hedonistic side—it's so wonderful and really such an occasion to be able to pop the cork on a bottle like this. And it's Mother's Day so it's cause for celebration. So to quote Ferris Bueller: "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."