Even if you haven’t personally popped a bottle, everyone has heard of Dom Pérignon. The name evokes luxury and indulgence: a glass of vintage Dom sipped out of a crystal flute with a side of caviar, all while lounging in a frothy bubble bath, of course. But how well do you really know this iconic Champagne? These 12 facts will convince anyone you’re a Dom Pérignon expert.
Dom Pérignon is a Champagne, not a Champagne house.
Dom Pérignon is a prestige cuvée, or tête de cuvée, which is the top Champagne that a producer will make.
Dom Pérignon is made by Moët & Chandon.
The venerable Champagne house created Dom Pérignon in the 1920s as its top cuvée.
The wine is named after a Benedictine monk who lived in Champagne.
Dom Pérignon, full name Dom Pierre Pérignon, was a 17th-century monk who lived in the Abbey of Hautvillers, where he was also the cellar master. He believed that hard work brought a monk closer to God, which ignited his dream of creating “the best wine in the world.”
That thing about Dom Pierre Pérignon creating the Champagne method? It’s a myth.
Adding sugar to a wine to initiate a second fermentation was documented six years before Dom Pérignon even entered the abbey at Hautvillers. Pérignon did, however, make several important innovations in Champagne production, such as developing the technique used to make white wine from red grapes and blending grapes to make a superior wine.
Despite its prestige, Dom Pérignon can’t be labeled as Grand Cru Champagne.
In Champagne, only certain vineyards are classified as Grand Cru, and a Champagne must only be made from these vineyards in order to qualify as a Grand Cru Champagne. Dom Pérignon is made with many grapes from Grand Cru vineyards, but each blend always includes grapes from the original plot in the Abbey of Hautvillers, which is classified as Premier Cru fruit.
Dom Pérignon is always a vintage Champagne.
Each bottling of Dom Pérignon contains grapes only from a single year, showcasing that vintage’s unique characteristics. Dom Pérignon does not produce a non-vintage wine.
But some years have no Dom Pérignon at all.
The chef de cave of Dom Pérignon, currently Richard Geoffroy, will only make and release the wine in vintages that will age more than 20 years. As a rule, he produces no more than six vintages each decade.
Dom Pérignon is always a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
While the percentages change from vintage to vintage, the wine is always based on these two key grapes. The percentage is usually somewhere between 50/50 and 60/40 favoring one of the grapes.
Dom Pérignon is aged for a minimum of 7 years in bottle before release, but some releases are aged for much longer.
Dom Pérignon releases each vintage three times. The first release is typically around nine years, the second around 18, and the third around 25. This time-aging on lees gives the wine complexity and richness. Most bottles of Dom Pérignon are first-release bottles, but if a bottle has “P2” or “P3” on the foil, you’ll know that it’s a second or third release, respectively.
There is a rosé version of Dom Perignon.
First produced in 1959, the rosé is often more expensive than the standard Dom Pérignon. Both are single-vintage, but the rosé is Pinot Noir-based.
Service tip: Never try to remove the foil around the cage of a bottle of Dom Pérignon.
The bottle has a traditional antique foil that is meant to remain adhered to the bottle. Instead, just pull the tab through the foil and remove the cage as if the foil were not there.
Dom Pérignon was the Champagne of choice for the royal wedding of Princess Diana to Prince Charles.
The royal couple poured the 1961 vintage in honor of the bride’s birth year. It was reported that 99 bottles were delivered to the wedding, and all were consumed.