Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave on life, grapes and his favourite vintage

Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave Richard Geoffroy trained as a doctor before starting his career in wine, and has been the custodian of the iconic bubbly since 1990. He shared the secret of his favourite Champagne vintage – and his dream to live at Versailles.

Is the Champagne region a good place to live?

The Champenois love their region— it’s a secret they’re willing to share. They feel they are part of their terroir and there is an organic and, at times, confounding resemblance between the people and the land they’ve been shaping for centuries: noble and understated, but profound and comforting. It’s a very good place to live.

What’s your favourite place in the world?

I keep exploring the correspondences between the cultures of France, Italy and Japan. For me, the links create a fascinating and innate sense of harmony.

Why Dom Pérignon over any other Champagne?

Particularly in its second plenitude [one of three stages during a wine’s maturation, during which there is a window of opportunity to enjoy a new expression of the vintage], Dom Pérignon is so inviting, energised and intense, joyful yet complex. It’s a sheer pleasure to drink it.

Dom Perignon's champagne vineyards

Dom Perignon’s champagne vineyards

What’s your favourite vintage?

Definitely 2003. The unprecedented 2003 is the mother of all challenging vintages. Somewhat controversial, it’s the vintage of extremes and superlatives: scorching heat and risktaking made the wine glorious, singular and satisfying.

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What are your favourite grape varieties?

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir—both of them. The white and the black: Dom Pérignon’s yin and yang.

What would be your dream property purchase?

The Château of Versailles? I am only joking. Still, Versailles is the quintessence of the Age of Enlightenment and the actual contemporary of the birth of Champagne. The Sun King himself used to drink Dom Pérignon wines.

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