Something about Dom Perignon
Dom Pérignon was the 17th century Benedictine monk who has gone down in history as the person who “invented” Champagne. His name was originally registered by Eugène Mercier. He sold the brand name to Moët & Chandon, which used it as the name for its prestige cuvée, which was first released in 1937.
A rigorous selection process in both the vineyard and winery ensures that only the best grapes go into Dom Pérignon champagne. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are used in roughly equal proportions without one variety dominating the other.
In its youth, Dom Pérignon shows incredibly smooth, creamy fruit with perfect balance and weight. As it ages, it takes on wonderfully toasty aromas and a finesse equalled by very few of the other Grandes Marques.
Since 2014 Dom Pérignon has no longer been using the term oenothèque for its late-release Champagnes, but the word Plenitude. This style represents Dom Pérignon champagne that is left in contact with its lees and does not evolve in a linear fashion, but ages in a series of stages, producing “windows of opportunity, or plenitudes” when the Champagne can be disgorged and released to bring consumers a different expression of the same vintage.
There are three plenitudes in the life of a given vintage: the first plenitude spans between seven to eight years after the vintage, which is when Dom Pérignon Vintage is released, while the second one arrives between 12 and 15 years – which was previously the first oenothèque release, but from now will be branded as P2. The third window comes after around 30 years, when the Champagne has spent more than 20 years on its lees, which will now be termed as P3.
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The 2013 Dom Pérignon is quite delicate and understated. It reminds me of the 2004, but with a bit more mid-palate richness and a bit less energy. Apricot, tangerine peel, white flowers, jasmine, mint and light honeyed notes all meld together. There’s lovely vinous intensity as well as a feeling of openness that make the 2013 a delight to taste today. The 2013 doesn’t look to be an epic DP, but it sure is delicious right now.
Disgorged in October last year, the 2013 Dom Pérignon is a lovely wine, defined by the long, cool growing season. Offering up aromas of crisp stone fruit, tangerine oil, buttered toast, pear, almonds and clear honey, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and seamless, with bright acids and a pillowy, enveloping profile, concluding with a long, saline finish. Vincent Chaperon recalls that shatter at fruit set moderated yields and that a drying east wind in the weeks before harvest helped to maintain the good sanitation necessary to wait to pick at full maturity.
A driven and serious DP with aromas of chalk, biscuits, apricot stones and lemons. Some spice and dried flowers, too. So sleek and sophisticated. Elegant. Yet, it’s long and powerful, with a sharp minerality. Tight and precise. Reminds me of bottles from the 1980s, such as 1988. It really takes off. Disgorged October 2021. Drinkable on release in January 2023, but better in a couple of years. A DP for the cellar.
Intense, lightly spicy nose and then on the palate very smooth-textured, gentle and lifted, with light bitterness on the finish – grapefruit peel? Some lightly vegetal notes and very long. Seamless texture and already very agreeable.