Moet & Chandon famously name their prestige Cuvée Champagne after Dom Pérignon, a 17th century monk inhabiting a Benedictine Abbey in Hautvillers. Although he is mythically thought to have invented sparkling wine, that honour belongs to Christopher Merret, an English Scientist born around the same time. �
Pérignon was however a winemaking pioneer of the Champagne region which at the time was producing fine still and mainly red wines. He recognised and tried to avoid the cause of the secondary fermentation, which would create the Champagne sparkle, but this was not purposefully harnessed until later in the nineteenth century. He introduced the idea of making white wines from the red Pinot Noir grapes believing them to be finer, and experimented with blending wines from different grape varieties, most influentially he reduced the yields of the vines improving the quality.
The launch of the latest Dom Pérignon Champagne has created quite a buzz in the Fine Wine World. Record sales, to collectors and investors worldwide, have already significantly depleted stocks of the new and super-fine 2004 vintage. Produced, though it is, in considerable volumes, (believed to be in excess of two million bottles, although the exact numbers are always kept a well guarded secret), the quality of the world’s most successful Deluxe Champagne is quite a feat, truly one of the wonders of the wine trade.
Dom Pérignon has come along way since its first release in 1921, when a mere 300 bottles were imported by the then UK agent, Simon Bros & Co. In fact the first 6 vintages were no more than Moët & Chandon Vintage Champagne bottled in the distinctive dumpy eighteenth century bottles, having been given an extra few years maturation in the cellars. From the 1947 vintage the Dom Pérignon became a wine selected from the finest vineyards sites owned by the Maison Moët & Chandon. Since then DP has become ultra exclusive adorning the tables of the rich and famous including those at the wedding of Charles and Diana, where quests sipped the then twenty year old magnums of the great 1961 vintage.
It is not widely understood that like a good red wine 10 to 12 years bottle ageing transforms this initially full flavoured, vigorous but often angular wine in its youth, into an irresistibly charming and seductive mouthful with beautifully exotic fruit aromas and toasty honeyed tones.
Only producing their prestige Cuvée in the finest of years, Moët & Chandon have celebrated the release in suitable style with a series of grand dinners around the country, and Nickolls & Perks were delighted to involve their clients in the Midlands event held at Simpsons Restaurant in Birmingham last month.
For advice on laying down a few bottles of this great wine for investment or just for the pleasure of drinking it, contact Will Gardener…01384 394518