The Pioneer of Blending and the Sparkling Mistake
Who would have thought that the best Champagne in History would have come from a Benedictine monk in the Abbey of Saint Pierre d’ Hautvillers in the heart of the Champagne region that overlooks the Marne Valley in 1668.
Dom Pierre Perignon had a mission to create the best wine in the world and dedicated 47 years of his life to invent and perfect techniques that has made his name synonymous amongst connoisseurs around the world.
His wines became a success amongst the elite as he called everyone to say that “he was drinking stars” but the truth is that it was not created with a sparkle in those days as they had no means of re-fermentation and the sugars would not be able to turn to alcohol which was rather dangerous as they were left in the bottles like ticking time bombs that were ready to explode at any moment.
Dom Pierre also created the corks for his wines that were fastened together with hemp string soaked in oil to preserve the quality of the wines.
His intention was not to make the wine sparkle, but the English enjoyed the idea of a sparkling wine and the race for Champagne was on giving life to many known houses in France, including Moet and Chardon, who bought the name Dom Perignon to Moet et Chardon and used it for their cuvees in 1937 but the first vintage was in 1921 and the name was handed down as a wedding present by Champagne Mercier to Moet.
Richard Geoffrey is the cellar master or Chef de Cave at Dom Perignon and has stated that the Champagne expresses its first plenitude after 7 years in the cellar and it is a unique Champagne because it is only a vintage and is made from grapes that were grown in the same year and consists of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Richard has the final say in what is done from the vineyard to the time of release.
Moet and Chardon Company took over the Abbey and have helped to preserve it and they have also restored the vineyards that were planted 300 years ago.
Champagnes from Dom Perignon
Dom Perignon Reviews
Champagne in the Making
The winemakers of Dom Perignon believe that the PH level is of the utmost importance in the making of Champagne and whilst most of the winemakers concentrate on acidity their job is to concentrate on the Ph levels.
Sulphite is added during the pressing stage to kill off the yeast and the wine is then placed into stainless steel tanks for fermentation and they then use two yeast cultures for the second fermentation process.
Just to be extra careful malolactic fermentation with a commercial culture is done again one month after the first fermentation.
Blending is the secret to the success and Geoffrey tastes each batch when they have reached two months old. Protection from oxidation is done with a blend of early exposure and later protection ageing on its lees in the bottle for 7 years and after the yeast is removed the Champagne is then stored for another six months before it is sold to the public.
There is very little information on the actual vineyards of the Abbey, but at one stage the production of Dom Perignon was done at the Moet and Chardon estate, but is now produced in the Abbey with the Richard Geoffrey as the winemaker who controls everything from the vineyard to the cellar.
There are a wide variety of their Champagnes to choose from and it begins with the Creator’s Editions which consist of Vintage Blanc and Rose and Metamorphosis Blanc and Rose which are presented in a beautifully coloured box with an interesting and artistic label.
Dom Perignon Rose 2004 is a remarkable edition to the brand and has aromas of intense red fruit, red currants and wild strawberries with hints of ripe hay, orange and cocoa
OEnotheque is a bottle that only the wine master can suggest whether or not he would like to release the bottle and the Library label suggests how long it should sit for.
Brut Vintage 2004 has a silky and elegant texture with aromas of peach, pears and white flowers
There are so many to select and they can be found online in their store or you could be lucky enough to find a true vintage in auction or on EBAY as a collectors’ item and a rare find.
The Champagne of Dom Perignon has been rated as one of the best in the world and one of the most well known wines, but it is also known for the price tag and if you really want a taste then it is worth saving up for.
Visit Dom Perignon
A guided tour takes you through the Moet and Chardon production with a history of the estate and an explanation on how Champagne is made.
The tour also takes you through the vineyards and the history of the Abbey with a taste of the vintage Champagne that has worldwide recognition and the caves are an incredible sight to see.
Phone: +33 3 26 51 20 00
20 Avenue de Champagne,
51200 Epernay, Champagne, France
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂