Dom Pérignon owes its name to the famous monk and cellar master of the Abbey of Hautvillers in 1668, Pierre Pérignon (also known as Dom Pérignon). According to legend, it was Pierre Pérignon who first discovered what is now called the Champenoise method. According to this anecdote, Pérignon taught this method in 1669 to the Benedictine Thierry Ruinart, allowing Maison Ruinart, to become the first Champagne House in 1729.
Dom Pérignon is a celebrated Champagne house, whose foundation was inspired by Pierre Pérignon's quest for the ultimate perfection in Champagne. Keeper of the estate’s prestigious brand image is the LVMH luxury group, now headed by Dom Pérignon, joined by other prestigious houses such as Krug, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot ou encore Moët & Chandon. The values upheld by the Champagne House today are hard work and intuition, observation and understanding, knowledge and respect – the same values embodied by iconic cellar master Richard Geoffroy. In addition to its rich aromatic complexity, the wines of Dom Pérignon are distinguished by their structure and texture, which give each vintage a unique, precious and inimitable character. The aesthetic of the bottle captures the brilliance of the wine inside and is often decorated by renowned artists, such as in the case of the label that glows in the dark and the limited edition collectibles, like the Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage Box Gold 2000.
The three main varieties of Champagne, namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, are used to develop the blends of Champagne Dom Pérignon. In addition to the exceptional bottles created in collaboration with artists, the Champagnes of Dom Pérignon also include non-vintage cuvées and Vintage cuvées made only in exceptional years. These are sold in three steps, referred to as "Plénitudes": the first is called Dom Pérignon Vintage and is sold for about 9 years after the vintage; the second reaches its second stage of maturity after 12-15 years and is called Dom Pérignon P2. Finally, Dom Pérignon P3, is put on the market approximately 25 years after the vintage. This is a rare and exceptional cuvée, a work of patience and passion, at the origin of one of the most prestigious Champagne in the world.
Perhaps no single label elicits a stronger emotional reaction from lovers of fine Champagne than that of Dom Perignon, the world-renowned prestige cuvee of the Moet & Chandon Champagne House. Since its very first release back in 1921, Dom Perignon has stood out as an elite wine and has remained the unwavering symbol of luxury, class and flawless quality in Champagne. A vintage champagne by nature, "Dom" is made exclusively in the strongest years and from only the best grapes harvested only in the same year.
In the 17th century, a wine-loving Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Perignon became the cellarer of the Abbey of Saint Pierre d'Hautvillers, a place in northern France which has since earned a reputation as being the birthplace of Champagne. Passionately dedicated to his work, he spent 47 years seeking to master the art of winemaking. According to legend it was Dom Perignon who introduced several of the ideas that are today at the core of the Champenoise method: blending grapes from different vineyards, pressing them separately and the producing white wine from red grapes. It wasn't long before his signature cuvees sparkled on the tables of Louis XIV's royal court. Because of the close relationship between Dom Perignon's abbey and the festive, exuberant French king, the Champagnes of "Dom" are still closely associated with celebration, joy and happiness today. The priceless brand Dom Perignon, bearing the name of the Champagne region's most legendary figure, was registered by Eugene Mercier of Mercier Champagne, and then sold to the Moet & Chandon Champagne House. It was first applied to the prestige cuvee from vintage 1921, from which only 1,200 bottles were released in 1936. The 1921 vintage is remembered in Champagne as one of the best in history, a great start to what would be an illustrious career for this remarkable cuvee. Today Moet & Chandon, together with Dom Perignon, have been acquired by the LVMH group.
But what sets the cuvees of Dom Perignon apart from those of other prestigious Houses in the region? Other than just being named after the region's most mythical character, there are several aspects of both viticulture and winemaking at Dom Perignon that defines the signature style and values of the House. First of all, despite being perhaps the most prestigious of Champagne cuvees, Dom Perignon is not (and cannot) officially be classified Grand Cru. Why? Although many of the grapes with which the wine is made come from Grand Cru vineyards, the final Dom Perignon blend always includes grapes from the original plot in Abbey of Saint Pierre d'Hautvillers. The latter is classified as Premier Cru. The blend is made of a core group of vineyards from 9 villages: Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger for Chardonnay, and Aÿ, Bouzy, Mailly, Verzenay and Hautvillers for Pinot Noir. And while most grapes in Champagne are harvested quite early, at Dom Perignon they are left to ripen slowly to reach the complexity required desired by the cellar.
Dom Perignon produces exclusively vintage cuvees, each of which showcases the unique characteristics of a single growing season in Champagne. Richard Geoffrey - cellar master at the House since 1990 and responsible for 14 vintage cuvees - limits his blends to only those vintages that will age more than 20 years. As a general rule, he produces a maximum of 6 vintages per decade. After its elaboration, the wine spends 7 years aging in bottle before it is first released. But Dom Perignon also does three releases of each vintage - the first after around 9 years of ageing, the second (labeled P2) after 12-15 years and the third (P3) after 25. The P on the label stands for Plenitude, a style that results from allowing the wine to age slowly in contact with lees. Geoffrey monitors closely this gradual maturation process of the wines, careful with choosing the exact right moment to disgorge and release the cuvee to the public. It is during these moments that the wines are believed to "sing higher and stronger." The new millennium saw great success at Dom Perignon, with an unprecedented release of 5 vintages in a row between 2002 and 2006.
The typical blend of Dom Perignon always contains both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, though the exact proportion will depend on the characteristics of the vintage. In 1961, for example, the two leading varieties of the region were equally featured in a 50-50 blend. In 1959, the Champagne House started to produce a single-vintage rose, which serves as a tribute to the Pinot Noir varietal and is Pinot-Noir based. The Dom Perignon Rose is often more expensive and even more sought after than the standard cuvee from the same vintage.