Vincent Chaperon on pairing durian with champagne, Dom Pérignon P2, and his favourite restaurant in Paris
Getting to know the oenologist from the house of Dom Pérignon
"Oenology is a blend of empiricism and science, technique and art," shares Vincent Chaperon, the oenologist for the celebrated house of Dom Pérignon. When he speaks about winemaking, his sensitivity to both the science and art of the craft comes through. After all, the French man grew up around the vineyard, raised by a family whose winemaking heritage courses through their veins. "Our profession requires great sensitivity. You have to know the vines, know how to pamper and love them, and know how to assemble them. That's harmony."
Over an exclusive luncheon hosted by Dom Pérignon at the futuristic Singapore FreePort, supercars and rare paintings weren't the only masterpieces we came face to face with. Chaperon led us through a tasting of the champagne house's finest vintages, culminating in the Dom Pérignon P2, the result of more than 12 years of maturations on the lees. Compared to its predecessor — the Dom Pérignon P1 — the ultra-premium P2 wasn't just complex on the palate, it magnified the famed creamy mouthfeel that Dom Pérignon's champagnes are known for. Given that the P3 — slated for 20 years of maturation on the lees — is currently blooming in the cellars, the P2 served as a promising glimpse of great things to come.
How better to understand the house of Dom Perignon than to speak with one of its esteemed noses? Here's what we found out about Vincent Chaperon.
I was born in Congo and my memories of the place are of the ocean in Pointe-Noire, the Congo river, as well as the people and their joy of living.
I grew up in a winemaking family and my earliest memories of the vineyard involve the harvest. 30 years ago, harvest season was still a moment of feasts and celebrations. Family and friends came together to pick the result of a whole year's work in an atmosphere of happiness and inevitably, fatigue.
Dom Pérignon P2 is unique because it is expressing Dom Pérignon's singularity louder and clearer than ever. The "P" in Plénitude stands for a privileged period of time when Dom Pérignon attains its radiance. The wine tells us of a new and exciting story worth being shared. The wine, in its second Plénitude — P2 — is more intense, precise and vibrant, energised by the extra-time of maturation in the cellar.
The most memorable vintage I've tasted is the 2003 Dom Pérignon. It was a wine that surpassed its extreme and unexpected climate, and challenged our limits during the blending process. Today, the Dom Pérignon vintage 2003 continues on its trajectory of maturation, transforming in the cellar as we speak.
It is impossible to pair Champagne with durian. I tried a few years ago at a market in Singapore.
Someone I would love to share a glass of Champagne with is Elon Musk. Technology is a new frontier for luxury.
My favourite restaurant in Paris is Le Septime on 80 rue de Charonne.
The only thing I love better than Champagne is sailing. It gives me a total freedom.
The best advice I've received from a winemaker is... "Create your wine in the image of your dream".
I'm currently readingHymne by Lydie Salvayre. It's a book on Jimi Hendrix's life, the man is a true legend!