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Champagne & Sparkling

Dom Pérignon


  • In the 17th century, Dom Pierre Pérignon, the cellar master of the Abbey of Hautvillers in Epernay, developed a wine whose extraordinary quality would make him the spiritual father of Champagne and one of the great visionaries of the winemaking world. Dom Pérignon longed to produce the “best wine in the world” and there is much written testimony to the success of Dom Pérignon’s wine with the most noble and wealthy personalities of the era.


    Dom Pérignon was one of the very first producers to assemble wines starting with the grapes, as well as the first to master the production of white wines from red grapes to achieve a giant leap forward in quality. Made exclusively from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from eight Grand Cru vineyards and from the oldest vines at the Abbey of Hautvillers, Dom Pérignon is produced only in exceptional vintage years.


    The Dom Pérignon style is a constantly renewed quest for absolute balance between the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Today, the decision to produce a vintage, as well as the delicate, precise task of assemblage, falls to chef de cave Richard Geoffroy.

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  • The Beginning
    The Abbey at Hautvillers began with a dream.
    While dozing one afternoon, Saint Nivard, the twenty-fifth archbishop of Reims, dreamt he saw a dove circling a beech tree. When he awoke, there was a real dove flying over the tree he had been sleeping under. The archbishop took this as a sign, a divine message exhorting him to build a new abbey with the altar marking the site of the vision.

    This occurred in the 7th century and the abbey was placed under the Rule of Saint Benedict. Saint Nivard's dream makes the abbey one of those rare places where the voices of nature and God unite to inspire the talent of humankind.

    During the 17th century, when the so-called golden rays of Louis XIV (the Sun King) illuminated the French court, Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715), a Benedictine monk and the monastery cellar master at Hautvillers Abbey, was using the quiet time reserved for prayer and reflection to develop a wine whose extraordinary quality made him one of the great visionaries of the winemaking world.

    Today, Dom Pérignon's spirit and legacy live on in the silence and stones of Hautvillers Abbey, inspiring the generations of winemakers who follow in his footsteps.




    Dom Pierre Pérignon, The Man
    Dom Pérignon's genius was not a lightning stroke of brilliance, but rather the radiating, generous illumination of the spirit. Dom Pierre Pérignon is revered as the spiritual father of winemaking in the Champagne region. Keen observation, respect for nature, pragmatic creativity, technical innovation, perfection in every detail, the courage of his convictions, and patience were the instruments serving his vision.

    Dom Pérignon had two ambitions for his wine. One was to increase the abbeys' income for which wine, through the levying of tithes, was the main source.

    But above all, Dom Pérignon longed to produce the "best wine in the world" and wanted it to be desired as such by Louis XIV, his exact contemporary. And it is documented in court orders that the Sun King had a penchant for the "straw-colored wine of Father Pérignon".

    It was genuine vision that gave birth to the wine of Hautvillers Abbey. A vision calling for excellence and mastery. It implied the ability to improve on nature when it is imperfect and inconsistent. Dom Pérignon was dedicated to perfecting sparkling wine. He constantly mastered and incorporated all its components and the stages of its production, from the vineyards themselves to the pressing and clarification of the wines and their preservation. This same quest for perfection inspires and guides the Chef de Cave today.
    (A Chef de Cave is the head winemaker at Champagne house, who is responsible for all aspects of production, from managing the vineyard and overseeing vinification to blending, aging and all the way up to a wine’s final bottling.)

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  • Dom Pierre Pérignon constantly innovated, coming up with better ways to make sparkling wine and creating many methods that have been used ever since. He was one of the very first producers to blend grapes from multiple vineyards, a method called assemblage, the word in French which means blending in this wine-making context. Ever since Dom Pérignon’s time, then, assemblage has been integral to Champagne production; it was developed in order to put to use all of the best qualities of the grapes from each vineyard-the conceptual whole that's greater than the sum of its parts.

    Dom Pérignon's original plantings were located around the abbey, but Pérignon expanded the domain’s vineyard plantings over time. The first vineyards planted in 1663 covered only 21 acres, but by the early 1700's they covered 48 acres, giving him access to more excellent grapes which improved the quality of the wine.

    Dom Pérignon was also the originator of new techniques to make white wines from red grapes. This was a revolution in the production of Champagne. Until then, white wines were produced exclusively from white grapes. The technique of removing the grape juice of the red Pinot Noir grape without allowing it to come in contact with the skins allowed Dom Pérignon to retain the subtle nuances of these grapes without introducing color or tannins, making a more complex and nuanced finished wine.

    Making white wine from red grapes is complicated. The principle is that the skins have to be quickly removed from the juice, so as to not impart any color. This requires great care during harvest to gently press the grapes, releasing the juice, but not crush them, thus assuring no additional color or tannin.


    These innovations spread rapidly throughout the region. Centuries later, these methods of production remain intrinsic to Champagne.

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  • The house of Dom Pérignon insists on the highest quality, and unlike many Champagne houses, is committed to producing only vintage wines and only in the best years.

    Each vintage is unique and presents an exciting challenge to Dom Pérignon's winemakers to make the ultimate expression of Champagne, one that can never be repeated. The arrival of a vintage year is the happy, rare encounter of a style and a harvest. Each vintage is constructed by the Chef de Cave with the goal of presenting a range of sensations on the palate that reflect the structure, aromas and singular characters of the vintage.

    The Dom Pérignon style displays a dynamic balance between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, freshness alongside maturity, ethereal texture and a silky, seamless finish.

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  • Dom Pérignon P2 is the Second Plénitude of Dom Pérignon, the result of over 16 years of elaboration. The wine is intense, vibrant and precise and the energy of the wine is at its peak.

    Each Dom Pérignon vintage is a distinct act of creation. The Dom Pérignon Chef de Cave’s power of creation is centered upon its absolute dedication ton vintage wines, coming exclusively from one year and one year only. P2 is result of a long and monitored elaboration process including a precise assemblage and an extended period of maturation of the lees, giving Dom Pérignon champagnes their singularity.


    Plénitudes
    The maturation of Dom Pérignon occurs not in a simple linear trajectory, but in successive leaps into new expression, each of which are called Plénitudes. In the long journey of elaboration, the wine goes through this metamorphosis, a transformation. Each Plénitude contributes to Dom Pérignon’s singularity, and after three Plénitudes, Dom Pérignon’s uniqueness is almost completely revealed and accomplished. Each Plénitude has a distinct universe and generates a distinct emotion.


    The wine has now spent even longer in secret conversation with its own essence, guided by Dom Pérignon’s Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy. Its essential qualities, unique for each vintage, have become more pronounced as the volume is turned up.
    Its harmony of opposites generates a whole new energy and will to expression.
    Called P2, this second Plénitude is a magnification of a vintage’s articulation.
    It is ever sharper and clearer unto itself, and never more intensely penetrating or precise.
    P2 is Dom Pérignon at its most avantgarde.

    For more on P2, please visit www.domperignon.com.

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  • Dom Pérignon Rosé is the third expression of Dom Pérignon's unique style. A delicate balancing act, this is not simply the Rosé version of Dom Pérignon Blanc, but rather a crown jewel of Dom Pérignon – impetuous yet tamed. It embodies the vivacity and vibrancy of Pinot Noir while retaining the balance essential to the Dom Pérignon style.

    The Chef de Cave will produce a Rosé only when the conditions are perfect. Some years see a Dom Pérignon Vintage Blanc Champagne, but no Rosé. While Dom Pérignon Blanc ages for at least 7 years, the Rosé ages on lees for 8-10 years.

    The first Dom Pérignon Rosé was requested by the Shah of Iran in 1959 to be unveiled in 1971 at the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire. This well-documented event was perhaps the most prestigious party in the world.

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