“Come quickly, I am tasting stars” is the famed expression of a 17th Century monk after his first taste of Champagne. This monk was Dom Pierre Perignon, cellar master of the Benedictine Abbey of Hautvilliers. The abbey was founded around 650 AD and after being destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions, it was restored in the 16th Century with the help of Catherine de Medicis. Dom Perignon then used the vineyards to help bring the House into prosperity and spent 47 years perfecting the art of winemaking in Champagne, with his vision to create “the best wine in the world”. Although Perignon did not invent the Champagne method, he did lay its foundations and pioneered winemaking techniques such as the use of cork, blending grapes and enhancing the use of natural sugar.
In 1937, Moet et Chandon purchased the Dom Perignon House from Eugene Mercier. The House is now synonymous with high quality Champagne and their prestige vintage, eponymously named Dom Perignon, is only made in the best vintages. As opposed to non-vintage Champagne which has the minimum ageing period of one and a half years, the Dom Perignon vintage is matured for at least eight years in their cellars. The assemblage is based on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – often in almost equal proportions as to not out-do one another. Dom Perignon describe the ageing of their Champagnes with the word ‘plenitude’, reflecting the different stages the Champagne goes through. The first plenitude, as soon as the vintages are released, offer wonderful vibrancy and complexity. Following this, there is the second stage (between 12 and 15 years) when the Champagne shows incredible nuance and delicacy. And finally the third plenitude, of around 30 years, when the elegance and remarkable layers shine through.