Dom Pérignon is one of the most highly regarded and well-known Champagnes in the world. The first and original prestige cuvée Champagne, it is today owned by LVMH.
The first vintage of Dom Pérignon was produced in 1921 and was released in 1936. The brand was initially owned by Champagne Mercier and gifted to Moët & Chandon in 1927. At first Dom Pérignon was just vintage Moët & Chandon with extended ageing and bottled in the wine's now trademark 18th-century-style, narrow-necked bottles. Since the 1940s, Dom Pérignon has been made and bottled separately. Today it is considered a separate brand to Moët & Chandon, made at a separate winery by a totally different team.
The iconic Champagne is named after the French Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon, who pioneered a number of viticulture and winemaking techniques in the Champagne region. During his time as a cellarmaster at the Abbey of Hautvillers, near Épernay, he advocated pruning to reduce yield and improve concentration, gentle pressing, and the use of stronger bottles. For many, Pérignon (1638-1715) is considered the “godfather of Champagne” and is often quoted as saying the immortal words: “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars.”
Dom Pérignon is only made as a vintage Champagne, from an approximate blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay exclusively from the Montagne de Reims, Aÿ and the Côte de Blancs. While almost all the fruit comes from Grand Cru parcels, it always includes fruit from the plot at the Abbey of Hautvillers – where the eponymous monk lived – which is only classified as Premier Cru. No oak is used in the winery, producing a reductive, linear and powerful style of Champagne.
In 1959, the first Dom Pérignon Rosé was produced (with only a few hundred bottles released); the first commercial rosé release was the 1962 vintage. The rosé is made by blending still red wine from Aÿ and Bouzy, and typically released later than the white.
Dom Pérignon is only released in the best years. Typically, six vintages with the best ageing potential are released each decade. Between 1921 and 2006, Dom Pérignon was only made 42 times.
In 2000, the Oenothèque series was introduced – late-disgorged releases of older vintages aged in the company’s cellars. In 2014, Dom Pérignon rebranded Oenothèque as “Plénitudes”, offering P2 and P3 releases. In conjunction with the initial release, these are designed to capture the three stages of evolution a vintage of Dom Pérignon goes through.. In general, the first “plenitude” or P1 is around eight years after the vintage, P2 is after approximately 15 (with 12 on lees) and P3 can be after 30-40 years (with 20 on lees), however these depend on the specific wine and release dates are determined by the Chef de Cave. The first Plénitude release was 1998 P2, following the last Oenothèque release, 1996.
In 2019, Dom Pérignon’s Chef de Cave of 28 years, Richard Geoffroy, retired and Vincent Chaperon took over the role. The pair had worked together for 13 vintages.
Today, Dom Pérignon is part of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), which also boasts wine brands such as Moët & Chandon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot. Ch. Cheval Blanc and Ch. d’Yquem. Glenmorangie and Ardbeg are just two of the spirits in LVMH’s ever-growing drinks portfolio.