“Sir, I give you twenty-six bottles of the finest wine in the world." Dom Pierre Pérignon.
These words are preserved in a letter written in 1664 to a customer in Epernay who had placed an order with Hautvillers Abbey. But in fact, the monk had already established his reputation through the wines he supplied to King Louis XIV and the court of Versailles.
In that age, abbeys were somewhat isolated from the world and had to be self-sufficient. The monks grew fruit, vegetables and medicinal herbs on the land surrounding the monastery. They were allowed to sell any surplus to customers in the outside world, and it was this trade that gradually established Dom Pérignon’s reputation, first in France and then further afield.
Dom Pérignon was responsible for cultivating the abbey’s vineyards and became an expert in the field. His palate was so refined that he could tell where a sample was grown, simply by tasting the grapes. His major advance in making his wines was that of combining various grapes to ensure that the quality and characteristics of each wine remained consistently high from year to year. In addition, he pioneered cellar-ageing wine in bottles sealed with corks.
Today, Dom Pérignon’s process of assemblage to maintain quality is still used, except that now it takes place further down the line – after the grapes have been pressed. Each year, the ideal assemblage of grape varieties and crus is determined. The quality of the grapes vary each year according to the climate and only fruit from finest crus and grand crus are chosen by the chef de cave. Since Dom Pérignon makes vintage wines exclusively, each assemblage must be a masterful creation.
Rarity is further increased by the fact that there are just 17 Grand Cru growing areas – all of which provide grapes for Dom Pérignon – compared to the 296 less prestigious Premier Cru and Cru areas. And today, just as centuries ago, the grapes used are grown in vineyards that were owned by Hautvillers Abbey in the 17th century.
The result of this process is a luxury brand that is renowned for the perfection of its champagnes. Their silky texture, their fine bubbles and their exceptionally long finish on the palate are the result of cellar ageing for at least seven years, and sometimes up to thirty years in the case of the Dom Pérignon Œnothèque range. The enticing, inviting and mysterious style of Dom Pérignon has remained absolutely unique over the centuries.
Synonymous with excellence, Dom Pérignon is a brand known throughout the world for its outstanding tradition and wine-making expertise. It is no surprise that it has always been championed by celebrated figures, including Marie-Antoinette, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld, and, of course, James Bond. An excellent, stylish wine created with French savoir-faire – that’s what Dom Pérignon is all about.