In the 17th century, the monk Dom Pierre Pérignon nurtured an ambition to create “the best wine in the world”. This bold and visionary mind even went as far as to earn himself a place at the table of the Sun King, who was won over by the quality of his wine.
Three centuries later, Dom Pérignon perpetuates this exceptional artisan’s vision and work, and he is now considered to be the spiritual father of Champagne. Dom Pérignon vintages are produced using the best grapes on the estate. Each one is a unique creation with a style and an identity which are unique to its vintage: it is down to the Chef de Cave to decide if the vintage will be declared. “If the fruit we have harvested doesn’t satisfy the Dom Pérignon Champagne criteria, there will not be a vintage that year.” explains Richard Geoffroy.
This vision is tangible through the subtle balance that characterizes the House Champagnes – an alliance of ripeness, vibrancy, lightness and intensity – giving the wine the potential to age with suppleness and elegance.
In 1668, Dom Pierre Pérignon took up his role as cellarer at the Abbey of Hautvillers. He used the vineyards to return the estate to prosperity. With well thought-out and thorough blending of grapes, white wines from black grape varieties and gentle and divided pressing, Dom Pierre Pérignon laid the essential foundations for the "champenoise" method. Right up to his death in 1715, this contemporary of Louis XIV perfected the art of winemaking in Champagne.
The philosophy, vision and spirit of Dom Pérignon are incarnated in his Manifesto, a document which explains the ten basic principles guiding winemaking at the House. Dom Pérignon can only be a vintage and blended. Each year, the Chef de Cave reinvents the House style with different grapes, creating a unique vintage, a perfect balance between the expression of Dom Pérignon and the expression of the vintage itself. It is made using a subtle blend of two grape varieties – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – which are taken from the very best vineyards in Champagne. The wines owe their complexity to the slow ripening of the grapes, which conserves freshness while revealing new aromas and new textures with the passing of time. These aromas, which develop in the wines as they are protected from oxygen during the aging process, guarantee exceptional cellaring potential and a characteristic minerality which is an aromatic signature of the House.
Nestled in the heart of Champagne on a hillside overlooking the Marne Valley, the former Benedectine Abbey of Hautvillers is Dom Pérignon’s historic birthplace. It was founded in around 650 by Saint Nivard, the Archbishop of Reims. It was destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions, but finally rose from its ashes in the 16th century with the help of Catherine de Médicis.
It was in this exceptional place that Dom Pierre Pérignon pursued his ambition to create the “best wine in the world” for 47 years. Today, the heritage of the Abbey, whose cloister was restored in 2012, is a source of inspiration for Richard Geoffroy.
- 47 number of years Dom Pierre Pérignon spent making Champagne
- 10 number of founding principles guiding the House's winemaking process
- 13°C the ideal temperature for cellaring Dom Pérignon vintages