Before you read this blog I should probably tell you that I have both a long-held affinity for Simpsons Birmingham and a preference toward Dom Perignon, the former is likely my favourite restaurant and the latter my favourite Champagne. As romantic and strange as it may sound after visiting the Abbey of Hautvillers in 2018 I feel some level of connection to the wines story when I am indulging in a glass.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a fantastic evening with Dom Perignon at Simpsons Birmingham. The evening was hosted by a representative from LVMH who presented and served five Champagnes alongside a five course tasting menu (menu shown in the below image gallery) prepared by chef Luke Tipping and his team (including Masterchef star Leo Kattou) Served on the night was DP 09, DP Rosé 05, DP P2 2000, 99 and 98.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dom Perignon Plentitude series I will very briefly explain it. After extensive tasting of cellared wines Vincent Chaperon found that opposed to improving in a steady linear fashion the wines went through what he called Plentitudes. After 7-9 years on the lees the wine experiences its first plentitude, after a further 7-9 years the second and at around 30 years (at least 20 on the lees) the third. Dom Perignon had previously released wine under the name Oenothèque which was a similar concept, the brand will continue to refer to the wines storage location as Oenothèque however the Plentitude series, compared to the scarce releases of Oenothèque, will now become a staple of the brand.
I will avoid rattling on and boring you all and instead I will jump straight in to my tasting notes for the dinner.
Dom Perignon Vintage 2009 – I have drunk 2009 several times now and I am always impressed by the ripeness of the vintage. Nose shows subtle notes of exotic fruits with guava and spiced green grapefruit coupled with white peach and nectarine and slight autolytic aromas. Palate is profound and ripe with a strong sense of quality and power. The wine is silky, bitter and persistent and will age greatly, return to this in a decade, 90/100.
Dom Perignon Rosé 2005 – 2005 in Champagne was marked by contrasting weather conditions. A heat wave in August was tempered by rain and cool weather in September meaning and drastically precise selection was required in the vineyard to ensure quality. Rich wild strawberry, ripe stone fruit and a pretty candied aroma with a somewhat spiced cocoa dustiness. The initial hit of richness is expansive and absorbs your entire palate with liquorice, blood orange and nectarine. Great length and structure, 91/100.
Dom Perignon P2 Vintage 2000 – This wine is the result of 16 years of elaboration and really begins to show the potential of Dom Perignon. The summer of 2000 was uncertain and gloomy however weather brightened late in August and was persistent until harvest. Lively and plentiful bouquet of brioche, hay, bergamot orange and candied stone fruit. Palate is initially vibrant but settles in to a complex chorus of intrigue with bitter stone fruit, orange rind and toasted malt, 95/100.
Dom Perignon P2 Vintage 1999 – Again, 1999 was contrasted. Average temperature was high and the summer was confirmed as tropical. Rain during picking had little to no effect on what eventually was a plentiful harvest. Every now and again you take that first inhalation of a wine and immediately you are rendered speechless. Savoury umami, ripe stone fruit, peach and orange with a restrained but precise toasted note. Notes of smoked peat, cocoa and warm minerality. Candied fruits, dried flowers and peppery toasted wood notes, 95/100.
Dom Perignon P2 Vintage 1998 – A real pleasure to finish the evening on this 98. The autolytic characteristics that the P2 range presents are fascinating, indulgent and hedonistic. Intense, full and radiant bouquet of honeysuckle, orange fruits, bergamot and toasted almond. Creamy and chewy palate with pretty floral notes, smoky flint and candied peach. A serious wine, 95/100.
Before I finish this article I want to say a little about Simpsons Birmingham. The first time I visited the restaurant I was 21 years old and immediately fell in love with the venue. Alongside my partner I have since witnessed the restaurant transform. It has undergone a complete visual transformation as well as the addition of many new team members. A huge thank you to the restaurant for continuing to provide these experiences and I look forward to supporting your wine events in the coming year.