Dom Perignon - 1975

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Moet et Chandon

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€ 275,00

Dom Perignon - 1975

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"Wow fantastic Dom, still very light in color, very dense and fine bubbles. Very fresh nose with loads of citrus fruit, very lightly oxidative. Full and complex palate with great balance between freshness and oxidativeness, very long finish with nice minerals. Drinking exceptionally well now and can keep." 96 points

Launched in 1936 by leading champagne house Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon was the first so-called cuvée de prestige to hit the market. With most of the world including France still wallowing in the Great Depression, it was hardly the moment to introduce an ultra-luxurious brand of a product synonymous with gaiety and good times. But as both Napoleon and Winston Churchill have observed, champagne is a must for bad times as well as good. “I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate,” Bonaparte is alleged to have claimed, “and I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself.”

Dom Pérignon’s debut, featuring the superb 1921 vintage, was a great success—notably in Britain and the United States, where tobacco magnate James Buchanan Duke ordered 100 bottles for himself. Other champagne houses joined the party, including Roederer, which had previously produced a special cuvée called Cristal for Russia’s royal family. Cristal was made available to the general public in 1945, followed by Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne in 1952 and Laurent-Perrier’s Grand Siècle in 1959.

These days all the big champagne houses have their own cuvées de prestige but Dom Pérignon remains for many the benchmark for great champagne. Much of that has to do with the raw material—the grapes—that go into making each vintage. Dom Pérignon himself is reputed to have selected the grapes that would be used to make his wine and could, it is said, match grapes with their particular vineyard even with his eyes closed—a form of “blind” tasting that gave rise to the erroneous legend that the cellar master was himself blind. Today’s Dom Pérignon is made exclusively from grapes—pinot noir and chardonnay—that are grown in vineyards that have earned grand cru status.

From plénitude to peak

These vineyards yield the best grapes the region can produce, but even so there are some years when the cellar master at Dom Pérignon deems them not good enough, and so no champagne is produced. Since Dom Pérignon was launched with the 1921 vintage there have been only 37 “releases”, including the latest one dating from 2003. A Dom Pérignonrosé made its debut in 1959 and has seen 21 vintages, with the most recent released in 2000. It is too soon to tell whether 2012 will merit vintage status. The year started out badly with too much rain until July, but even though the sun came out in late summer and allowed the grapes to ripen, cellar master Richard Geoffroy will not decide until next April whether it gets the nod.

Geoffroy, whose winemaking skills have been another component of the quality equation at Dom Pérignon since he took charge of production in 1990, monitors the domain’s wines by squirreling away a proportion of every vintage in an oenothèque—a kind of wine reference library created in 2000. “Each vintage is unique,” explains deputy cellar master Vincent Chaperon, “but like brothers and sisters you can see the family likeness, the genetic links.” According to Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon achieves three distinct peaks during its life cycle, the first (the so-called phase de plénitude) occurring around the seven-year mark when the wine is at its most vibrant (and most of it is bottled and sold); the second between 14 and 20 years, when the wine achieves greater depth and vigor; and the peak, from 30 years onward, when it reaches full maturity and greater complexity.

Fortunately for champagne lovers, Geoffroy and Chaperon do not keep the oenothèquewines for themselves but release small quantities onto the market from time to time when they are judged to have reached their best. Vintages released so far with the oenothèquebadge include the 1996 white and the 1990 rosé.

Much has changed at the abbey since Dom Pérignon’s day. The abbey buildings have gone through hard times, notably during and after the Revolution, and little remains of the cloisters and the cellars. The abbey church, unlike the abbey itself, is open to the public; it guards the relics of Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Empire’s first Christian emperor Constantine, and was for centuries a pilgrimage destination. Today’s champagne pilgrims seeking a grand monument to Dom Pérignon, who died in 1715, are in for a disappointment—his final resting place is a simple grave under the church’s floor, in front of the altar, marked only by a stone inscribed in Latin: Hic Jacet Dom Petrus Perignon.

But in truth the old cellar master of Hautvillers needs no elaborate memorial, for the champagne that bears his name is eloquent testimony to his dedication and drive. Over the past three years Moët & Chandon, parent company to Dom Pérignon, has renovated the abbey and its outbuildings, and today the estate exudes an air of peace and tranquility that the Benedictine monks of yesteryear would have found familiar. Except, of course, when the silence is sundered by the sound of corks being popped. But the Dom surely would not mind that—it’s the precursor to drinking stars.

Dom Pérignon

An almost exact contemporary of Louis XIV, Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638–1715) may not have invented champagne, but if there were a hall of fame dedicated to the world’s most prestigious sparkling wine this pioneer monk would be a founding member. What the perfectionist Pérignon brought to his work as cellar master was an unrelenting quest for quality. He did not, as some believe, initiate champagne’s practice of assemblage—the mixing of still wines from various vineyards and reserve wines from earlier years to create a consistent mix, or cuvée, whose sum is greater than its parts. But he did mix different grape types to produce a superior, more balanced product that was admired far and wide and even graced the Sun King’s table at Versailles. “Dom Pérignon was the entrepreneur of champagne,” says current cellar master Richard Geoffroy. “He made it happen.”

Above all, Dom Pérignon left us his vast knowledge of viticulture, brought together in a 35-chapter treatise by his successor and pupil Brother Pierre. Much of his advice is still followed today. He was in favor of aggressive pruning, keeping yields low to improve quality. He urged the rejection of bruised or broken grapes and the use of “natural” processes. Most important, he also explained how white wine could be made from black grapes by ensuring that the pressed juices did not become colored by the grapes’ skins—a vital development for the region’s winemakers since the majority of the grapes used in champagne production, pinot noir and pinot meunier, are black.

Producent Moet et Chandon
Jaar 1975
Appellation Champagne
Climat Nee
Flesgrootte 0,75 L
Aantal flessen 1
Conditie Nee
Waardering Nee