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Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 revisits the archetype of champagne with added depth, density and complexity to balance out acidity, concision and aromatic purity.
Congratulations are in order for Chef Darren Chin.
His relationship with the maison spans many long years, culminating in this latest partnership that is more than well deserving, in our books.
Just in time for his appointment, the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 emerges from its cellar, ready to meet the world for the first time. The new vintage revisits the archetype of champagne with added depth, density and complexity to balance out acidity, concision and aromatic purity
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 sweet aniseed and crushed mint, with final aromas of spicy, woody and roasted notes.
That is all fine and well as a wine, since one can hardly go wrong when it comes to Dom Pérignon, but how well does it fare where it matters most – with food?
Chef Darren takes us on a journey through its notes with a special degustation menu, consisting of new signature dishes he’s created specially for the vintage.
He starts us slow, warming up our palates first with the Vintage 2009 en Magnum. To bring out the best of the champagne, he plays with all things umami using slices of Strip-Jack mackerel sashimi, relaxed in nothing more than a light marinade for a week to loosen the muscles for tenderness. Simplicity is what Chef Darren strived for here, to match the freshness of the Vintage 2009, which notes are effectively brought to the forefront of the palate by the bitterness of the accompanying lemon cream, slight spice of local torch ginger, and the brininess of kaviari transmontanus sturgeon caviar.
Alaskan King Crab & Landes White Asparagus
Continuing with the same Vintage 2009, Chef Darren expands on its notes with Alaskan King crab, simply braised in its own juices for sweetness of the sea that explodes with every bite. Adding dimension to it is concentrated heirloom tomato for a touch of tartness and sweet basil for a veil of herbaceousness. It isn’t just flavour that’s cleverly manipulated in this dish – Chef Darren takes us on a ride also on the texture front with Landes white asparagus for crunch and a smattering of gelée made from tomato water for chew. Have them all together in a bite and you get the best of sweet, sour and umami that truly lengthen the freshness of the Vintage 2009.
DC’s Spring Seafood Medley
We finally come to the star of the night: The Vintage 2008. To do justice to the champagne’s many levels of flavour, Chef Darren serves up an equally diverse medley of seafood of fish, Hokkaido scallops and Irish Bouchot mussels. Had in any rotation, the seafood opens up the initial shyness of the wine to really coax the slender and minimalist first palate notes into a well-rounded warmth of fruit that is pronounced and clear. The slight acidity of the wine, in turn, lifts the creaminess fo the scallop and mussel, and cuts through the milkiness of the Jerusalem artichoke purée. Barley risotto and braised leeks round up the dish for extra chew and bite that don’t subtract from the flavours of the wine.
DC Signature Rack of Lamb
Premiering alongside the Vintage 2008 is also the Rosé 2006, Dom Pérignon’s first rosé vintage in four years since 2002. With an enveloping tone of flavours that evolve from a blend of dark spices and cocoa into full-bodied fruity aromas, it is the perfect match for DC’s signature rack of South Australian lamb, grilled over Binchotan charcoal. The game of the lamb meets the spicy punch of the rosé fearlessly before both meat and wine mellow together into a harmonious balance of smoke and fruit. The wine’s brine and saline characteristics also tease the fermented beet and apple dice in the dish to release sweetness that would otherwise be shrouded by the strong flavours of the lamb.
Double Chocolate Tart
Chef Darren spared no chocolate with the dessert in the form of a chocolate tart made of 60% cacao ganache. Little else pairs better with chocolate of that richness than cognac and in that department, he spared no expense either, serving us the Hennessy Paradis Imperial. If the chocolate tart is the perfect sweet end, then the cognac is the perfect marriage to lengthen the prized bitterness of the chocolate while melding its own cured sweetness to the package. For some nuttiness to balance out the sweetness, a scoop of 100% Sicilian pistachio ice cream brings the perfect mix while a drizzle of AOP extra virgin olive oil from Liguria lengthens the fragrance of chocolate and cognac.
The Vintage 2008 and Rosé Vintage 2006 contribute to the maison’s remarkable journey of perfecting the best vintages. Learn more about the wines at the official website here.
(Photos: Dom Perignon)