2012 Dom Perignon Champagne Cuvee Vintage
2012 Dom Perignon Champagne Cuvee Vintage Light golden and sporting a brisk tiny bead, the 2012 vintage of Dom Pérignon has all the makings of greatness. Beautifully aromatic, it flaunts an intense bouquet of nectarines, Bartlett pears, marzipan, brioche, cardamom and wet stones. Medium-bodied, vibrantly acidic and with a mousse that is creamy yet energetic, it delivers flavors mirroring the nose, adding notes of citrus and ginger on the solid mid-palate and lengthy finish.
98 John Gilman: The 2012 Dom Pérignon is a brilliant wine in the making and seems likely to ultimately be judged one of the greatest vintages here in the last quarter century. According to Chef de Cave Vincent Chaperon, the wine is close to its ideal cépages of fifty percent each of chardonnay and pinot noir in 2012. The wine is quite a powerful vintage of Dom Pérignon, but with all of the customary elegance and structural chassis of the greatest vintages here and it remains a young wine, brimming with energy and superb depth. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a classic blend of lime, green apple, menthol, stony minerality, discreet botanical tones, gentle smokiness and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a great core, superb mineral drive and grip, utterly refined mousse and a long, zesty and beautifully balanced finish. I love how the perfect ripeness of the 2012 vintage is seamlessly interwoven here with a superb girdle of acidity, great minerality and excellent purity, which will end up producing a legendary vintage of this wine. It is certainly approachable out of the blocks, but I would opt to tuck bottles away for at least eight to ten more years before starting to drink the 2012, as there is so much left here to still unfold. (Drink between 2029-2075)
The term is typically used for wines made within the Champagne region, while the term traditional method relates to wines made using the same technique but elsewhere in the world. This process requires the secondary fermentation to happen inside the bottle. The wine then spends time aging on its lees (dead yeast cells), which impacts its aromas, flavors, and texture. This step of the process produces notes of brioche and nuts along with a soft and creamy mouthfeel. The Champagne and traditional methods involve time-consuming riddling (sometimes done by hand) and disgorgement, which translates to higher price-points on store shelves.
A faster and cheaper way to make sparkling wine is the Charmat method, also known as the tank method. Most famous for its association with Prosecco, this process sees the wine transferred from its first fermentation vat to a large sealed pressurized tank where it undergoes carbon-dioxide-creating secondary fermentation. The wine is then bottled and shipped to market. This method produces lighter and more fruit-forward sparkling wines because they don’t spend time on lees and are released immediately after bottling.
Another process, which uses aspects of both the traditional and tank methods, is the transfer method. In this technique, the sparkling wine goes through secondary fermentation within the bottle and is stored on its lees and then it is transferred to a tank where it is filtered. This eliminates the costly steps of riddling and disgorgement while maintaining the character of the lees aging.
One final method — and the least expensive of all— is carbonation. Instead of the wine going through a secondary fermentation to gain its fizz, carbon dioxide (CO2) is injected into the wine, which is then bottled under pressure.