1996 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothèque" Brut Champagne
Still looking impossibly fresh, this was first released in 2004 and shows the ability of Dom to hold together an incredible array of complex aromas, flavours and textural layering over considerable time. The grapefruit citrus characters are almost Burgundian in proportion, both in terms of aromas and flavours; there are elements of fine brioche, various fresh and grilled nuts, plenty of chalk, a little spice and honey all vying for attention on the nose. The palate is vibrant, exhilarating and tightly wound still, the acidity is mouth-watering and the composure flawless. Finishes long, bracingly fresh and gently bitter. Drinking very well now, it will improve for a decade or more. (NS)
*Cellar Selection* A magnificent Champagne, one that is light, delicate, yet packed with character. It is beautifully balanced, with a bone-dry character, just softened by the toastiness that is developing. Expect this to age for many years. (RV)
Allen Meadows - Burghound
An elegant if highly restrained nose displays cool nuances of green apple, a variety of citrus elements and discreet floral hints along with plenty of yeast character. There is superb precision to the equally cool and restrained middle weight flavors that dance across the palate thanks to the incredibly fine mousse that is at once firm but not aggressive on the notably dry but not really austere finale. I very much like the '96 Oenothèque as it's a wonderfully graceful effort that possesses impeccable balance and a refinement that it doesn't always achieve. In terms of where it is in its evolution, '96 is going to be one of those timeless vintages that will still be with us 30 years hence as I believe that it will continue to age effortlessly. That said, there probably isn't much more in the way of upside development potential remaining though it will certainly continue to add secondary elements with additional time in bottle. In sum, this is flat out great with a long future ahead of it.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1996 Dom Perignon OEenotheque offers up layers of pastry, lemon, smoke and toastiness. At first deceptively understated, the wine turns positively explosive and layered on the palate, showing remarkable tension, elegance and power, all wrapped around a seriously intense frame. The balance between fruit and acidity is awesome. This is a marvelous DP OEeno. The OEeno is the same juice as the regular Dom Perignon, except the OEeno is aged on the cork while the regular DP is aged in crown-sealed bottles. Once disgorged, the OEenos gets a slightly lower dosage than is typical for the original release DP. This bottle was disgorged in 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026. (AG)
The 1996 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque has really turned a corner over the last six months or so. When it was originally introduced the 1996 was hard as nails, today it is an exquisite Champagne that captures the essential brightness and energy of the year. Lemon, slate, oyster shells and white flowers stain the palate in an intense, beautifully sculpted Champagne of the highest level. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(disgorged in 2008): Yellow-gold. Explosive aromas of ripe pear, honey, gingerbread and iodine, with intense smokiness and notes of chalky minerals and magnolia. Sappy, palate-staining orchard and pit fruit flavors are braced by exotic spice and mineral qualities, picking up notes of buttery brioche and toasted grain with air. Strikingly dense but energetic too, finishing with superb thrust and mineral-driven persistence. This ridiculously complex Champagne is only beginning to enter its window of maturity.
Wine & Spirits
This transforms the violent power of 1996 into a supple and succulent wine, holding the masculine tension of the vintage while yielding more delicate complexities: orange peel, cedar, ginger, tobacco. The wine’s refinement is extraordinary, the sumptuous richness girded into a gentle, sunny finish that lives in the memory after lingering for minutes on the lips. A youthful classic that shows no signs of its 16 years of age, this should live for decades.
Disgorged 2008, this is wonderfully meaty, substantial wine still with the vintage's marked acidity but now tamed and counterbalanced by much more flesh and creaminess. Nothing remotely soft about this but lots of struck match character still and ramrod straight in structure. Should go on for many a long year but the texture is fantastic - just the merest hint of brioche too. A majestic, rather intellectual wine. 19/20 points.