Last Tuesday we were paid a visit by Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon's charismatic chef de cave (aka the wine boss), who came all the way from France to stop by Sydney and Melbourne to present the Champagne house's latest drop, Plénitude 1998 vintage, or P2.
Providore favourite Simon Johnson hosted the occasion, an intimate sit-down lunch for a small group of media and hospitality guests upstairs at his Queen Street, Woollahra, store.
"Plénitude stands for cellar radiance, a privileged moment in the development of our wine," said Geoffroy, who has been the cellarmaster at Dom Pérignon since 1990.
The P2-1998 vintage is, he went on, characterised by orange fruits and a smoky finish on the palate, reflecting its 12 years of maturation on lees.
"It would be foolish to say that the first expression is the full expression," said Geoffroy. "P2 is not a full expression either - you will have to go to P3 at the age of 30-35 years, and even that is not the final stage. All Dom Pérignon wines have hundred-year potential."
The food The whole menu was devised especially by chef Damien Monley to match P2-1998. Simon Johnson's fine produce was in full force across canapés including truffled cheese brioche sandwiches; cherry tomato bruschetta with 20-year-old balsamic vinegar; scallop crudo with ponzu dressing and tamari almonds; and SJ jamón Ibérico. Seared tuna topped a salad of edamame, radishes and yabbies in a miso dressing for the main course, and the finale was spiced cherry tart and Meredith sheep's milk yoghurt sorbet..
The drink Dom Pérignon. Lots of it. The white fruit and rich spice of the 2004 vintage was the perfect match to canapés downstairs; while the star of the show, the P2-1998, flowed freely throughout the meal.
We loved Simon Johnson and Richard Geoffroy have both been at the top of their games for 25 years, so the sunny private dining room at Johnson's Woollahra store was the ideal setting for P2's reveal. Geoffroy's comparison of a $550 bottle of Champagne to your teenage years, too, was a highlight. "I always say that youth is the second phase. It's somewhat baffling, and at the peak of its energy." How charming.