Dom Pérignon, the legacy of a monk

by Julie Berteloot
Dom Péignon la cuvée héritage d'un moine
Dom Pérignon bottle

The history of the vintage

At Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers Abbey, the Moët & Chandon house perpetuates the legend of Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who contributed to the development of champagne. According to legend, Dom Pérignon invented champagne by sealing bottles of white wine with beeswax. The flow of sugar causes a second fermentation, giving rise to the effervescence and foam specific to Champagne wines. Dom Pérignon was also a master of blending, blending the best grapes and different grape varieties to obtain a harmonious wine. Dom Pérignon is therefore the legacy of the visionary monk.

The Moët & Chandon house, owner of the abbey since 1823, markets exceptional vintages from the best Champagne vintages under the Dom Pérignon brand. The house marketed the first vintage, that of 1921, in 1936. Since then, 46 other vintages have been produced.

Who was Dom Pérignon?

Dom Pérignon Statue - Moët & Chandon

Dom Pérignon, whose real name was Pierre Pérignon, was a French Benedictine monk born in 1638 in Champagne. He spent most of his life at the Hautvillers monastery. He worked there as a cellarer and responsible for wine production.

Dom Pérignon is famous for its contribution to improving the quality of Champagne wine, through its winemaking techniques. He worked in particular on improving production methods but also on mixing grapes from different vines and different varieties to obtain more harmonious wines. It offered new methods for bottle fermentation, making it possible to produce finer, more sparkling wines.

Although legend credits Dom Pérignon with the invention of champagne, he did not create this effervescent drink but worked on improving it. In fact, champagne already existed before Dom Pérignon and was known as “foam wine”.

Dom Pérignon died in 1715 at the age of 77 and remains an emblematic figure in the history of Champagne wine production.

The particularities of Dom Pérignon champagne

Champagne Dom Pérignon is an ambitious vintage because it is only produced in good years.

According to Richard Geoffreoy, the former Dom Pérignon cellar master: “the grapes are never the same from one year to the next. If a harvest does not meet Dom Pérignon’s criteria, there will be no vintage that year. This is not a value judgment, but an aesthetic vision.”

The grapes come from a vineyard classified as Premier Cru, located at the Abbaye d’Hautvilliers. The other vineyards producing Dom Pérignon are Grand Cru and are among the most beautiful in the region.

The style of Champagne Dom Pérignon owes a lot to the emblematic cellar master Richard Geoffroy. He ran the house for 28 years and helped create balanced, harmonious and magnificent vintages with his skills as an oenologist.

Maison Dom Pérignon markets three types of vintages, the most famous of which is Dom Pérignon Vintage. Each bottle bears the vintage of the harvest and is on the market approximately nine years after production. Richard Geoffroy is at the origin of the Plénitude vintages. This is a series of Dom Pérignon vintages offering additional years of aging. The Dom Pérignon P2 cuvée is marketed after maturation on lees for 12 to 15 years. The Dom Pérignon P3 vintage is marketed after approximately 25 years of maturation on lees.

Each Dom Pérignon vintage offers a unique experience and invites consumers to savor the passing of time, encouraging hedonism and leaving lasting memories. 

Domaine Dom Pérignon aujourd'hui

House news

Dom Pérignon bvlgari bottle

Vincent Chaperon studied oenology at the University of Burgundy and graduated in 1996. He then worked for the champagne houses G.H. Mumm and Ruinart before joining Moët & Chandon in 1999. During his career at Moët & Chandon, he was involved in the creation of several new vintages.

In 2005, Vincent Chaperon was appointed deputy cellar chef of Moët & Chandon. He works alongside cellar manager Richard Geoffroy. In 2019, after the latter’s departure, he was named cellar manager of the house.

The LVMH group, owner of major Champagne houses such as Ruinart, Mercier and Krug, owns the Dom Pérignon brand via its subsidiary Moët & Chandon. They still propagate the legacy of the monk Dom Pérignon today.

The best vintages of the cuvée

The vintages of Dom Perignon are as follows: 1921, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1934, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975 , 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 .

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