IWA5 Assemblage 2 • A Triumph

IWA Founder/Maker Richard Geoffroy is a philosopher more than anything else

“Owing to the pandemic, I was sadly enough locked down at home, in France, unable to be in Japan for the Assemblage”. 

IWA Founder/Maker Richard Geoffroy informs on their website introducing the second IWA5 that was launched last week to the world.

Geoffroy – like Keanu Reeves in the “John Wick” character – is a man of “focus”, “determination”.

When he first graduated as a medical doctor – after eight years of studies – and realized medicine was not he calling, he wasted no time to re-enrol for a course in oenology in Reims.

Born in Vertus – the famous Premier Cru village particularly known for its Chardonnay – Richard Geoffroy is the seventh-generation winemaker of an illustrious Champagne family that are owners of vineyards. His father – Henri Geoffroy – was President of the Syndicat des Vignerons for 17 years. The position also meant  he was co-Chairman of the CIVC, the Champagne regional body.

Richard Geoffroy’s original decision to study medicine – instead of oenology – was a “teenage revolt”.

After his second graduation – as an oenologist – Geoffroy worked, including, in Napa and Victoria, Australia, for Domaine Chandon.

We met more than 30 years ago when the Frenchman was at Moët & Chandon.

In 1990, Richard Geoffroy became the first Chef de Cave devoted exclusively to Dom Perignon. He remained for 28 years as Chief Winemaker of the world’s most famous champagne, retiring on 31 December 2018.

If the walls at Hautvillers Abbey where Dom Pierre Perignon is buried can speak, I think the Benedictine monk would rejoice the choice of Richard Geoffroy carrying on his legacy.

The art of blending – predicting, projecting the life of a wine into the future – is essentially gazing into a crystal ball.

The greatest blenders are not so much winemakers as they are philosophers.


“The samples of all individual components had to be shipped over to me, making it the ultimate in teleworking. In any case, having to face so many logistical considerations, so many challenges, I remained very focused, prioritizing my options. This has been such a learning experience, as much on myself as on the project of IWA5 itself. I do believe these constraints pushed me to perform and deliver to an even higher standard”.

As they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.

IWA5 Assemblage 2 has exceeded the inaugural edition launched in 2020.

A2 has a greater attention to structure. There is – following the richness of the umami, glycerol mid-palate – a freshness, firmness, even crispness on the finish. A remarkable achievement indeed.

As a result of the lockdown, samples were sent from Tateyama, Toyama, to Chenay, north of Reims, for the blending in May 2020

Launched to the world last week, Assemblage 2 includes a QR code on the back label. Scan it for the full story


IWA5 Assemblage 2

The samples were sent from Tateyama, Toyama, to Chenay, north of Reims, for the blending in May 2020. Floral, winter melon*, pear, a hint of Chinese rock sugar, a pinch of white pepper, glycerol, textured, structured. Savour it as you would slowly flip the pages of a timeless novel. As A2 becomes less cold, the sake takes on new personalities. Like actors in an intricate Kabuki play. Assemblage 2 includes a QR code on the back label. Scan it for the full story.

*I am, on my maternal side, from Shunde, Guangdong. Winter melon is a standard in some Cantonese “sweet water”. It is an aroma and taste that is part of my DNA.

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