Dom Pérignon is today one of the most recognisable Champagnes in the world. Taking its name from the French Benedictine Monk, it is currently owned by the most internationally well-known brand Moët & Chandon, and is the name of their Prestige Cuvée (also the first Prestige Cuvée to be launched in 1935).
Arriving in Hautvillers in the 17th century, Dom Pérignon settled into the commune’s Abbey, where he began his life’s work as a cellar master. A tale consumed by grapes, wines and an unrelenting quest for quality.
Contrary to popular belief, Dom Pérignon was not the ‘inventor’ of Champagne. However, that is not to say that his work was not vital to the development of sparkling wine and to the industry as a whole.
Shaping it into its present day form, Dom Pérignon contributed masses of research and innovative techniques to the Champagne making process. Firstly, he is credited with the art of assemblage, blending different base wines produced from different vineyards to create a consistent and superior cuvée. He is also recognised as having mastered producing white wines from black grapes, an essential technique considering that two-thirds of the grape varieties in the region are black. He is additionally revered for his influence on harvesting and production methods, such as the invention of the coquard press and for re-introducing the cork-stopper back into France.
In 1974 Frère Pierre, student and successor of Dom Pérignon, put together a 35 chapter dissertation outlining Dom Pérignon’s accomplishments in the world of wine (Traité de la culture des vignes de Champagne). However, when studying the essay in detail it becomes clear that Frère Pierre does not mention sparkling Champagne at all in relation to Dom Pérignon and the dissertation concentrates solely on the monk’s other achievements, practices and work principles. Dom Grossard, the last cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers, is said to have sparked the rumour of Dom Pérignon inventing Champagne, as he stated it in a letter to the deputy mayor of Aÿ. However, this letter was not written until more than a century after Dom Pérignon’s death.
Therefore, the charming tale of Dom Pérignon’s exclamation “come quickly, I am drinking the stars” is unlikely to be factual. Nonetheless, the monk did work tirelessly and successfully to improve the quality and reputation of the still wines of Champagne. As recognition, Dom Pérignon is today the face of the most famed Prestige Cuvée in the world.
We can arrange for you to visit the historic Moët estate for a private Dom Pérignon tour, with the opportunity to taste this revered Champagne!Find Out More