Choosing a grape harvest worthy of a vintage bottling can be challenging as most factors point towards the weather. In fact, the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013 almost never made it—but 10 years later, the bottling is ready for the world to enjoy.
The year 2013 was an unpredictable year of growth for the Champagne grapes—the winter before was cold and wet, leading to the vines budding two weeks later than usual. Normally, this would not be a good thing. However, the hot and dry summer turned the tides around and improved the quality of the grapes. The harvesting season came later than usual between late September and mid-October—champagne grapes are typically harvested earlier to maintain acidity—but the fruit had a great balance of acidity and full-bodied flavour. With this, the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013 reconnects with a legacy of late-harvest vintages, showcasing the creativity within the champagne house: taking maturation time into account for a vintage champagne that’s truly remarkable.
And remarkable was the perfect way to describe the Vintage 2013. We had the chance to taste the champagne for ourselves recently at the one Michelin-starred DC Restaurant. Chef-owner Darren Chin was recently appointed a DP Society chef—the first in Malaysia—making him the ideal person to curate a menu that brought out the best of the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013.
A delightful effervescence enveloped in minerality
Freshly disgorged only less than a year ago, the Vintage 2013 is delicate on the nose with initial notes of eucalyptus and mint which then unfolds into apricot and orange blossom, slowly warming into notes of pepper, cardamom, and licorice sticks. On the palate, it is even more distinguished with an elegantly sparkling mouthfeel that settles into a silky texture with a salient finish that leaves you wanting more.
To bring out the true qualities of the Vintage 2013, Chef Darren Chin designed a pairing menu that showcases the five unique facets of the champagne: intensity, tactile, complexity, minerality, and precision.
The dinner begins with Minerality in DC Restaurant’s Cellar: a trio of amuse bouche featuring cornet with hotaru ika, perilla, coconut, and piquant oil; next, a crab snack comprising crispy tomalley, mud crab, crab roe, and fennel pollen; finally, a seasonal fish of kombujime, kombu oil, and pickled kabu. These were paired with the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2012.
Later, we moved into the dining area to begin the pairing menu with the Vintage 2013. We start with Intensity: a carabinero—jumbo prawns typically found in southern Spain—which was cooked with sorrel and lemon butter. The briny taste of the carabinero went perfectly with the sour, lemony flavour of sorrel and the richness of the lemon butter, pairing well with the mineral salinity of the Vintage 2013.
For our second course, we explored the Tactile facet. Penshell clam was dressed with Perigord truffle jus, oyster leaf, and crème de champignon—the meaty mouthfeel of the clam and the earthiness of the Perigord truffle gave much body to pair with the champagne. For Complexity, the chef explored the many nuances of spring vegetables and steamed turbot, with a side of clam salad and geoduck. Despite the many complexities in flavours and textures, it still proved a great pairing with the freshness of the Vintage 2013.
Then, we came to the final facet of the pairing menu: Precision. A gorgeous cut of Silverhill Irish duck served alongside harissa and shiitake jus proved to be the grand finale of the five facets. Aged to perfection, the duck was robust and full-bodied—yet it didn’t drown out the flavours of the champagne, disproving the age-old adage that red meat must be paired with red wine. We end the night on a sweet, nutty note: hazelnut, white chocolate mousse and bergamot on black sesame moelleux.
The newly-appointed DP Society chef certainly did the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013 justice. Going through the menu, we discovered that the dishes were very much ingredient-forward and in tune with its seasonalities, hardly overdressing with additional flavours. This is reminiscent of the principle that Dom Pérignon themselves follow when choosing the best and most suitable harvest for their vintages.
You too, can experience the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013 for yourself at DC Restaurant.