Wine taste regulars are well familiar with my adoration of the spectacular Dom Pérignon 2002, which you can still pick up under $200. The recent release of the 2003 has been greeted with much scepticism, particularly as one of the latest releases for this aberrant heatwave vintage, recording Champagne’s hottest summer on record. Even Moët intelligently released its 2003 before its 2002 vintage wines. Chardonnay was scarce, necessitating a change in the Dom Pérignon blend. And to protect it from oxidation in bottle, the juice was allowed to oxidise for two or three hours as it came off the press. To what effect? In its credit, Dom Pérignon is one of the better 2003s made in Champagne. In a vintage as challenging as 2003 this is hardly an endorsement. This is a rich and powerful Dom, layered with aromas of ripe peach, brioche and roast nuts, admirably maintaining a refreshing note of lemon blossom perfume. The palate leads out with fine, crunchy lemon zest and quickly pulls into a firm, drying finish. Its acid line is admirable yet fruit falls away quickly, leaving a dry, phenolic, skinsy finish that defines this as the least vintage for Dom Pérignon of the modern era. The question is rightfully asked as to why it was ever released. $189 at Downtown Duty Free.
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