There are many places one could wear a sleek blue suit.
For Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave for Dom Pérignon, that place just happened to be a hologram.
Geoffroy, the tall handsome scion of a long line of Côte des Blanc winegrowers, was transformed into a foot-high digital version of himself for Dom Pérignon's unveiling of its 2003 vintage. Geoffroy's shimmering image was beamed simultaneously to press conferences in London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Hong Kong, where myself and other reporters watched in rapt attention as he declared, "Yes, there is a Dom Pérignon 2003 and I am very proud to show you this wine today."
Perhaps the simple announcement of a vintage should hardly warrant a presentation worthy of Star Trek, but 2003 was not just your average year and this Dom Pérignon was not your average vintage."The year 2003 has remained in the collective memory of all wine producers in France, and in the Champagne region." explained Geoffroy at the press conference.
"It is a vintage that was a real challenge to create. The frost... will forever leave their mark on the people of Champagne. There was a small harvest, especially in the Chardonnay areas, and then a really hot, blistering summer."
These circumstances discouraged several houses to produce limited quantities of wine and champagne -- if at all. But Dom Pérignon pushed full steam ahead.
"For us, creating (this) vintage has always been more than just positioning. It is a commitment, more philosophical than just knowing how to deal with climate constraints, whether they are moderate or extreme like in 2003. [It was about] taking this constraint and turning the challenge into a chance of greatness for Dom Pérignon."
Geoffroy's poetic words about a glass of bubbly could easily fly right over the head of those, like myself, with a simple palette. And yet, once the audience finally got their chance to sample the delicious vintage, we understood.
Like a selection of suits for the presentation, producing a 2003 vintage was the right choice.
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