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Dom Perignon Champagne: History, Prices, and How to Buy It

By
Thomas M.
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September 14, 2020

Want to add a Dom Perignon champagne to your wine collection?


From its unique label to the distinctive bottle shape based on its 17th century design, Dom Pérignon is a symbol of luxury and indulgence. It is as ingrained in pop culture as it is a favorite among serious wine critics.


How does it taste? What are the prices of the vintages? And, is it worth investing in a Dom Perignon?


Also, what’s the best way to buy it?


Let’s explore everything about this celebrated Champagne in this detailed article. We’ll walk you through its history, the unique winemaking processes followed, tasting notes, and its retail and auction prices.


You’ll also discover the easiest way to buy, store and sell Dom Perignon champagne!

This article contains:

(Click on the links below to go to a specific section)

What is Dom Perignon?

Dom Perignon is a Champagne produced by Moët & Chandon, a winemaker, and co-owner of the luxury goods company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton or LVMH.


LVMH also owns the Krug, Mercier, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot Champagne houses.


It is named after Dom Pierre Pérignon, a 17th-century Benedectine monk who made significant contributions to the production of Champagne wine even when the region's produce was mainly red wines.

History of Dom Perignon champagne

Dom Pierre Perignon was also the cellar master at a monastery in the Abbey of Hautvillers in north-eastern France.


He pioneered many winemaking techniques in the 1670s, including blending grapes and striking a balance between elements to improve wine quality. (More about that in a bit.)


The first vintage was 1921 but was released for sale only in 1936.


300 bottles of this wine were gifted for the 100th anniversary of Moet and Chandon. This became an instant hit, and more bottles were ordered to the United States.


Moët & Chandon bought the brand name in 1937.


Cellar master Richard Geoffroy was the Chef de Cave (head winemaker or cellarmaster) for Dom Pérignon for 28 years since 1990. In 2019, he passed on the Chef de Cave baton to Vincent Chaperon.

What is the Dom Perignon manifesto?

The Moët & Chandon champagne house follows many principles that strictly guide the winemaking process.

Vintages

Most Champagne wines are non-vintage - made by grapes harvested from different years and blended together.


This is because the Champagne region has one of the toughest climates for wine production. Low sunshine levels and cold conditions make it difficult for grapes to ripen. So winemakers pick grapes from various vintages to maintain the consistency of the wine.


However, each bottle of Dom Perignon only contains grapes that are harvested in a single year. You won’t find a non-vintage Dom Perignon champagne ever. And, it's never made in bad harvest or weak years. They would rather not release anything than compromise their quality.


The champagne houses commitment to vintages is absolute - even to the extent of not declaring one in weak years.


Only 43 white wine vintages have been released between 1921 and 2009.

Composition

Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon wines are always a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties with slightly different compositions in each vintage.


It is usually 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, although it is 60:40 and 40:60 in some years, depending on the vintage needs.


Unlike other Champagne makers, Dom Pérignon does not use any Pinot Meunier in the wines.

Production quantities

The best part about Dom Perignon champagne is its availability. It is produced in large quantities, rumored to be up to 5 million bottles a year.

Winemaking processes

Source of grapes: Grapes are hand-picked from the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims sub-regions (Grand Cru vineyards) of the Champagne region, and the Premier Cru vineyard sites of Hautvillers.


These grape vines aren’t allowed to grow above 3 feet, and vine pruning takes place only in the morning.


Fermentation: The first fermentation and malolactic fermentation is not done in oak barrels, but stainless steel tanks.


Yeast used: Dom Perignon Champagne uses its own strains of yeasts for the first fermentation, and the second one in the bottle.


Aging process: Dom Perignon is known for being age-worthy. By rule, they’re aged for a minimum of seven years before being released into the market.


A bottle from the 1950s or 1970s vintages, if stored well, can still taste excellent. Those from the ‘80s and ‘90s are only just coming of age into a matured stage of drinking.


Vintages released in three phases of aging and maturity: Dom Perignon releases its own cellared, matured bottles under the name Plénitude.


The first release is aged nine years, the second would be 20 years, and the third batch is 30-40 years. You’ll recognize these batches by the Vintage/P1 or P2 or P3 labels on the foil. Because of their rarity and age, these special label bottles command a high premium on the market.


Now for some more fun facts.

As is widely believed, did Dom Pierre Perignon invent the Champagne method for making sparkling wine?

Let’s find out.


More Interesting Facts About Dom Perignon Champagne

1. Dom Pierre Perignon didn’t create the champagne method ('methode champenoise'.)

The fact that adding sugar could initiate a second fermentation was discovered by an English scientist Christopher Merrett, 30 years earlier.


But, the monk did do some things differently besides blending grapes in ways that improved wine quality.

  • He perfected the art of producing a clear white wine from red-skinned grapes.


  • He found ways to enhance the tendency of Champagnes to retain sugar to induce secondary fermentation during springtime.


  • He was adept at deciding when to bottle the wines to capture the right amounts of bubbles.


  • He introduced corks (instead of wood) fastened to bottles with hemp string soaked in oil. This would keep the freshness and the wines sparkling.


  • He used thicker glass to prevent the bottles from exploding.


Interestingly, sparkling wines emerged as the main production style in the Champagne region over the 19th century - more than 100 years after the monk’s death.


2. Dom Perignon is the name of a Champagne, not a Champagne house

It is a prestige Cuvee (tête de Cuvee) or the top Champagne of its producer.


3. Not a Grand Cru champagne

Since it is not entirely made from grapes from Grand Cru vineyards (but also Premier Cru fruit from the Abbey of Hautvillers), this iconic Cuvee isn't a Grand Cru Champagne.


4. Has a Rose version too

A rosé version of this Cuvee (from Pinot Noir) has also been produced since 1959. 26 such Rosé vintages have been made until 2006.


They’re more expensive than the standard Dom Perignon given its rarity and much smaller production.


5. Champagne of choice at a royal wedding

In 1981, magnums of Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne 1961 were served at the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles.


6. Ideal storage conditions for cellaring a Dom Perignon vintage

Choosing the proper cellar and conditions is crucial to its future taste and value.


Ideally, this prestige cuvée should be stored at a cool and constant temperature between 7-18 oC (45 - 65 oF), in complete darkness with humidity above 70%.


7. "Oenothèque" release of Moët & Chandon

Until the 1943 Dom Pérignon vintage, it was made from regular Moët & Chandon vintage Champagne, which was transferred to 18th century-style bottles after prolonged cellaring.


So, it was an "oenothèque" bottling release of Moët & Chandon Vintage Champagne in a different bottle. (The word Oenothèque refers to a place to store wine.)


However, Dom Pérignon has been produced separately from the 1947 vintage.


Dom Perignon Prices

A standard vintage starts above $150, with the rosé priced above $340 and a P2 priced over $360.

Dom Perignon vintage wine price list

Here are the average prices of some of the vintages:


Price appreciation over time

The 1996 vintage price has increased over 600% since being released. The price of a 2000 vintage has risen by 400%.

As an investment, it is a recession-proof one. For example, when the stock market crumbled in 2008 and 2009, the average price of a Dom Perignon dipped only by 0.6%.

Dom Perignon at auctions

The performance of “DP” at auctions has been nothing short of stellar.


  • In 1971, the Shah of Iran ordered several bottles of the 1959 Dom Pérignon Rosé for the 2,500th-year celebration of the Persian Empire. One of those bottles was sold at auction for over $38,000 in 2008.


  • Auction records were set in 2004 when three bottles of the 1921 DP vintage wine from the private cellar of Doris Duke were sold for over $24,000.


  • In 2010, a new record was set in Britain when a 6 liter Methuselah 1996 Dom Perignon Champagne Rose (Rose Gold) was sold for $52,500.


  • In 2020, a 30-bottle lot of Dom Pérignon Oenothèque Rosé bottles and magnums from 1966, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1990 were sold for $170,000+. This set the world auction record for a single lot of vintage champagne.


How Does Dom Perignon Taste?

Let’s look at the tasting notes of some of the most famous vintages:


1996: The brilliant 1996 DP opens with a refreshing pop and notes of smoky mist, flowers, and fruit, with a mineral background of chalk and limestone.

The aftertaste reveals its true age with a broad palette and deeper notes of toasted brioche, mushrooms, nuts, and subtle hints of coffee.


2002: The opulent 2002 Brut vintage is intensely floral, with perfumed jasmine aromas at first.

With time in the glass, it becomes richer as the flavor profile turns into ripeness and tropical on the palate. Then you get flavors of apricot fruit, passion fruit, and peaches, and is oily and viscous on the palate.


2008: The 2008 Dom Perignon wafts from the glass with dried white flowers, Meyer lemon, baked fruit, stone fruit, candied ginger, and oyster shell scents. You get flavors of chalk, gunpowder, and ripe fruit with white pepper from this graceful Champagne.

There’s a refreshing acidity along with deeper, sweeter notes of apple, pear, orange, peach, and lime zest – on top of subtle vanilla and freshly baked brioche. An underpinning of smoky mineral gains momentum at the finish.


The Dom Perignon style is incredibly complex, smooth, and balanced on the palate for a vintage champagne.


The Dom Perignon is a great wine to buy for drinking or investing in. You can even gift it to your friends in a DP gift box along with accessories like a decanter.


Now, what’s the best way to buy a Dom Perignon? Or, for that matter, any fine wine, including Bordeaux and other French wines.


How do you get the best prices and be assured that you’re not buying a counterfeit bottle?


Your best bet would be to have a wine investment company like Vinovest buy your Dom Perignon bottles, store them under perfect conditions, and even sell them for you.


Let’s see how this works.


Buy Dom Perignon and Other Renowned Wines Through Vinovest (for Drinking and Investing)


Vinovest is a wine investment company that buys, authenticates, stores, and sells your wines for you.


You can even have your bottles delivered to your doorstep if you wish to add a touch of sparkle to your tipple with friends!

How does it work?

You only need to follow these steps:


  1. Sign up on the Vinovest website.
  2. Fill up a questionnaire for Vinovest to assess your risk appetite and investment preferences.
  3. Add funds to your account.
  4. Track your fine wine portfolio online.

Benefits of buying wines via Vinovest

Here’s why you should consider buying, storing, and selling wine through Vinovest.


Easy buying and selling of wines

Vinovest makes buying and selling wines super easy with its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based online platform.


Best prices

Vinovest sources wines straight from winemakers, global wine exchanges, and wine merchants. This means you get the bottles at the best possible wholesale prices!


Provenance and authenticity

You won’t have to worry about dealing with fake wine bottles. Vinovest authenticates your bottles and traces their provenance before you buy them.


Optimal storage

Vinovest stores your wine bottles safely in bonded warehouses, under optimal conditions of light, humidity, vibration, and temperature.


Curated portfolio of Dom Perignon and other wines

A team of Sommeliers and data scientists carefully curates your portfolio using proprietary financial models and historical data.


Insurance and security

24/7 security cameras constantly monitor your wines. There are power back-ups in case the primary method fails to maintain the perfect climate control. There’s also a comprehensive insurance policy that’ll protect your cellar at all times.


Low overall costs

Besides adding funds to your account, all you need to pay is a 2.85% annual fee (2.5% for a portfolio above $50,000). This covers buying your wines, authenticating and storing them, a full insurance policy at market value, portfolio management, and selling your bottles. You’ll also get significant tax advantages since bonded warehouses don’t charge VAT and excise duty.


Easy delivery of wines

Once sold, Vinovest will safely deliver your wines to your buyer. And, if you wish to drink your wine, you can have it delivered to your home.


Ownership

Best part? You own the wines you buy.

To conclude...

You could buy a coveted Dom Perignon through many channels, including wine stores, online platforms, and so on. But, you’ll never know whether you’re guaranteed the best prices.


Moreover, it could get unnecessarily complicated if you’ve to deal with counterfeit bottles.


Your smartest and easiest option is to buy, store, and sell your Dom Perignon and other best wines through Vinovest.


So sign up right away and get ready to build a winning wine portfolio!


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