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Dom Pérignon is a brand of vintage champagne produced by the Champagnes of Moët & Chandon and serves as that house's prestige champagne. It is named after Dom Pérignon a Benedictine monk who was an important quality pioneer for Champagne wine but who, contrary to popular myths, did not discover the champagne method for making sparkling wine.
Dom Pérignon (1638–1715) pioneered a number of winemaking techniques around 1670—being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve the quality of wines, balance one element with another in order to make a better whole, and deal with a number of their imperfections; perfecting the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes by clever manipulation of the presses; enhancing the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to naturally induce secondary fermentation in the spring.
Dom Pérignon is always a vintage champagne, meaning that it is not made in weak years, and all grapes used to make the wine were harvested in the same year.
Dom Pérignon is an assemblage of Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, although the final composition changes every vintage: at times a blend in perfectly equal proportions. The grapes entering the blend come from the best, most sunlit sites. Serena Sutcliffe comments: "With age, Dom Pérignon takes on a totally seductive fresh-toast-and-coffee bouquet, one of the most intriguing scents in Champagne." Dom Pérignon releases each vintage three times. The first release is typically around nine years, the second around 18, and the third around 25. This time-aging on lees gives the wine complexity and richness. Most bottles of Dom Pérignon are first-release bottles, but if a bottle has “P2” or “P3” on the foil, one can see that it’s a second or third release, respectively. The number of bottles produced in each vintage is not precisely defined but it is at least 2 million. The bottle has a traditional antique foil that is meant to remain adhered to the bottle. Instead, just pull the tab through the foil and remove the cage as if the foil were not there.
Dom Pérignon is often traded at wine auctions. The high production volume of the noble champagne variety is only produced in selected years. The long ripening gives the excellent luxury product its characteristic and unmistakable taste note.