Following the highly successful release of the 2006 in September, we profile the history of luxury cuvee Dom Perignon.
Dom Perignon – A Byword for Luxury
One of the most famous names, not just in Champagne, but in all fine wine, Dom Perignon is a true icon, a symbol of luxury and a benchmark against which all others are measured. It’s a label that’s well-deserved, but what is it about this cuvee that makes it so special and revered?
The History of Dom Perignon is the History of Luxury Cuvee Champagne
Made by the mighty Moet & Chandon, the Dom Perignon label first appeared in 1921 when the regular Moet vintage was produced in an 18th century style bottle. The first ‘luxury cuvee’ it is named after the monk who pioneered many of the processes now commonplace in the region, it was a massive hit and has been responsible for some of the greatest Champagnes ever bottled in the near 100 years since.
The Vintage, Vineyards, Winery –The Sources of Immense Quality
Only made in the best years (42 times in the 84 years from 1921 to 2006), Moet source the best grapes from their highest quality sites for the Dom Perignon, and their vast holdings give them access to very good raw materials. Combine this with absolutely no expense spared in their state-of-the-art winery and the ability and resources to age the results for years in their cellars until ready to drink, and you have a truly spectacular Champagne.
Dom Perignon – A Champagne of Style and Panache
Dom Perignon is generally released after resting in the cellars for approximately seven years and only when deemed to have reached its first ‘plenitude’ or peak drinking window. When released, it’s the epitome of everything that makes Champagne great; chic, stylish and fresh in youth, then complex, rich and powerful with age.
The Library Releases – Matured to Perfection in Dom Perignon’s Cellars
The Oenotheque, or library releases, are breathtakingly good. Now known as the ‘P2’ & ‘P3’, they are late released from Dom Perignon’s cellars and are designed to capture the peaks or ‘Plenitudes’ in drinking windows that occur throughout the life of a vintage Dom Perignon’ P2 at 12-15 years and P3 between 30 and 40.
Sensational in complexity and substance, these are the apogee of the Dom Perignon style in some of the greatest years in the Champagne’s recent history. Profound and monumental, these need to be tasted to be believed.
Which to Dom Perignon to buy?
It’s arguably impossible to go wrong when buying Dom Perignon as the label’s reputation is built on consistent excellence. So what to purchase comes down to two things, the style you like and how much you wish to spend.
Buying young is best for those who like a leaner, fresher style and is usually beneficial in terms of pricing. Sourcing more mature vintages means less of a wait for those who enjoy their Dom Perignon rich, deep and complex, but is a correspondingly more expensive option.
The 2006 is the latest release and is already stunning, but it also has a great future ahead. The 2004 is also eye-catching, a top year for the region and still affordable in the context of this cuvee. Going back further, 2002 and 1996 are both phenomenal vintages, if you can find them.
For those with deep pockets the Oenotheques are a superb option as they are sure to be sensational on delivery.