Today we bring you one of the famed Champagne houses of the world and truly one of my personal favorite wines, Dom Pérignon. It takes many wine lovers by surprise that Dom Pérignon was a 18th century French Benedictine monk who is credited with inventing Champagne. What many might not know is that the Champagne region was mostly known for still wine until the mid-19th century when most houses began producing sparkling wine. Launched in 1936 by leading champagne house Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon was the first cuvée de prestige created for consumers. While most of the world including France in the midst of the Great Depression, this was a strange time to start a prestigious brand of a Champagne. But as both Napoleon and Winston Churchill have previously noted, Champagne is not only for good times but it is used to console as well.
I have heard that the first Dom Pérignon made from the 1921 vintage was simply amazing. I will look forward to trying this insanely good wine someday. Following in the footsteps of Dom Perignon, other producers began producing their cuvée de prestige, including Roederer, starting their ‘Cristal’ line in 1945 which was followed by Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne in 1952 and Laurent-Perrier’s Grand Siècle in 1959. For me, Dom Pérignon is one of the finest wines of the world, as I am simply mesmerized that they can produce such an incredible product given the large case production. Year after year Dom Pérignon produces one of the finest Champagnes available on the retail market. Dom Pérignon is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that are are grown in vineyards that received grand cru status. Each of these special occasion Champagnes showcase their vintage. I recently had the chance to revisit several vintages of Dom Pérignon and was enchanted by each release. The 2009 Dom Pérignon Champagne (WWB, 95) is exceedingly bright and youthful at this stage in its development. It is only an infant now but will have an exceedingly long life in the cellar. Quite more evolved but every bit as good, the 2006 Dom Pérignon Champagne (WWB, 96) shows wonderful biscuit and musty around as this stage in its development. The weight of this wine is seriously good right now. I was absolutely blown away with the 1996 Dom Pérignon Champagne (WWB, 98) as well as the 1998 Dom Pérignon Champagne (WWB, 97). These majestic bottling are incredible now at more than twenty years of age and still have an exceedingly long life left. Learn more about Dom Pérignon Champagne at http://www.domperignon.com/ Here we feature my reviews of previous three releases of Moët & Chandon ‘Dom Pérignon’ as well as some special older vintages enjoyed in the past month.
1996 Moët & Chandon ‘Dom Pérignon’ Champagne- The 1996 Dom Pérignon is a revelation at now twenty three years of age. On the nose this takes on some spectacular range from Challah bread tones to lemon zest as well as Pink Lady apple and candied ginger. Once on the attack this shows formidable weight and tension, while this seamless wine effortlessly dances across the mid-palate. Ripe Japanese pear, brioche, lemon zest and wild mushroom flavors collide with the strong salinity and minerality. A true heavyhitter, this wine has many rounds left to fight, but is simply intoxicating at this stage in its development. Drink 2019-2040- 98
1998 Moët & Chandon ‘Dom Pérignon’ Champagne- I absolutely adore the 1998 Dom Pérignon at this stage in development, as this was a marvelous surprise to see how balanced and seductive this wine is now. Showing a slightly lower viscosity than the ’96, the 1998 Dom Pérignon greets you with a wonderfully nutty and musty bouquet, followed by great tension and linear progression on the mid-palate. The wonderful sense of freshness complements the nutty, wild mushroom, peat moss and orchard fruit flavors. This has a wonderful saline streak that runs through the exceedingly long finish. While marvelous now, this has at least fifteen years left. Drink 2019-2035- 97
2006 Moët & Chandon ‘Dom Pérignon’ Champagne- Similar to 2005, 2006 had perfect weather at harvest, following an excellent growing season. The production team at Moët & Chandon continue to produce some of the best Champagne in the world. This new bottling of Dom Pérignon is no exception. This wine begins with aromas of brioche, porcini mushroom, gala apple and banana. This leads to flavors of red delicious apple, toasted macadamia nut, Meyer lemon rind, and Japanese pear. This is absolutely ethereal as the mousse is silky and incredibly textured. The earthy components to this blending beautifully complement the citrus fruit. An absolutely stunning Champagne that is a very small step ahead of the brilliant 2005. Drink 2019-2040- 96
2008 Moët & Chandon ‘Dom Pérignon’ Champagne- The 2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne is a stunning new wine that showcases this outstanding vintage. Released after the ’09 edition, the 2008 is the last vintage releases by cave de chef Vincent Chaperon before he retired at the end of 2018. What was a very cool vintage, 2008 saw perfect conditions at harvest which led to very ripe berries. At the present the ripeness is quite evident on the nose with bright marigold flowers with kumquat and shades of nectarine rind alongside the lemon infused brioche accents that all build in the glass. The palate is round, yet tightly wound, delivering a nice sense of decadence. Bright Pink Lady apple, lemon zest and Challah bread all combine brilliantly with a good sense of salinity on the palate. While remarkable in its youth, this really needs a year or two of bottle age to fully come together. Drink 2020-2040- 97
2009 Moët & Chandon ‘Dom Pérignon’ Champagne- The 2009 Dom Pérignon is a simply fabulous effort from a challenging vintage in Champagne. The musty and earthy aromatics grab you straight away followed by wild mushrooms, brioche, poached pear and toasted hazelnut aromatics that impress. Incredibly balanced and with remarkable finesse, this showcases flavors of lemon zest, baked apple and marzipan with biscuit. Today this is just a touch youthful, needing some additional time to develop. Nonetheless this is a simply gorgeous Champagne with marvelous cellaring potential. Try to hold off on this stunner for at least two years. Disgorged in June 2016. Drink 2019-2040- 95