Dom Perignon is the most exquisite champagne produced in the beautiful and very famous Moet & Chandon factory. Given its luxury status in the world of wines and champagnes, the price of Dom Perignon is around $140 for a 750ml bottle of its most recent vintage (2009). Generally speaking, the older the vintages get, the more they cost. But the quality of release also depends on the quality of the grapes from the year of production. For example, the 2009 vintage released in 2019 costs about $140 / 750ml bottle, the 2008 vintage costs about $160 / 750ml bottle and the 2000 vintage costs about $180 / 750ml bottle.
Why does Dom Perignon cost so much?
Dom Perignon champagne is by no means affordable, but its price tag is fully justified. Firstly, this champagne is not produced every year. Every bottle of Dom Perignon is vintage release, meaning that all the grapes used to make the wine/champagne were harvested in the same year. In weak harvest years it is simply NOT produced. To give you an example, on average, only every three or four years will encounter a good harvest. From 1921 to 2009, Dom Pérignon champagne has been produced in only 43 vintages. It is made in rather small volumes, about 200,000 boxes per year.
Secondly, it is aged for a rather long time. Usually the champagne matures in a bottle for at least a year, but after that, then for at least 7 years or more it is stowed away in the basement to let it mature. For instance, as of September 2019, the latest Dom Perignon being sold in the markets is from the 2009 vintage. Similarly, the latest Dom Perignon Rose available is from the 2006 vintage.
Thirdly, only two grape varieties are used to make this champagne: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Fourthly, in 1983 a rule was set that there must be at least 160 kilograms of grapes per 102 liters of juice. Moreover all of the grape harvestings are done manually.
Lastly, the taste of this divine drink is incredibly beautiful, and the aroma is filled with wonderful shades of fresh and juicy fruit. All these factors affect the final high price.
Dom Perignon Vintages Price List
Dom Pérignon champagne prices vary depending on the cuvée and the vintage. The price per bottle starts at around $150 and can reach up to $1,300 for the higher-quality cuvées and vintage champagnes.
Who was Dom Perignon?
Dom Perignon was a French monk who lived from about 1639 to 1715. He was born in the small town of Sainte-Menehould in Champagne to a wealthy family with seven children. His father and uncle owned vineyards.
When Dom was 19 he joined the Benedictine order. Twelve years later, in 1668, he was admitted to the Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers monastery at the age of 30, where he was commissioned as Cellerar (a kind of treasurer), meaning that he was responsible for the monastery’s economic affairs until his death. As treasurer of the abbey, Dom Perignon also oversaw the taxes paid to the monastery. Among other things, they could be paid in grapes or wine. The Hautvillers Abbey, thus regularly received a selection of the best vines and wines from the region and used them to make cuvées. Dom Perignon was a true master in the art of “assemblage”, as it is called today, which requires a lot of expertise, a very fine sense of taste and good judgment.
He worked closely with the cellar master of the Saint-Pierre aux Monts de Châlon abbey, brother Jean Oudart (1654-1742) and other contemporaries who knew something about wine. Together they experimented with the production and storage of the wine and came to the knowledge that is still decisive for the winery and the special features of large champagne brands. Most of these tales date back to the 19th century, long after Dom Pérignon’s death. In addition, some of the “legends” surrounding Dom Perignon were most likely created by his successors to give the Abbey in Hautvillers more glamor and prestige. So it may be wise to treat them as good anecdotes more than anything else!
But one thing is certain, that Dom Pérignon contributed a lot to the qualitative development of champagne. He was very talented and a great manager of the monastery’s cellars, which he had expanded from 10 to 24 hectares.
Did Dom Perignon invent Champagne?
It cannot be said that the French Benedictine monk Dom Perignon from the Hautevilles Abbey invented champagne. Nevertheless, he made a decisive contribution to the development of the unique taste of the fine sparkling wine.
How it came to that the wine got carbonated with bubbles, no one knows. It was very likely more by chance that Dom Perignon and his colleague enjoyed the wine fermented for the second time. The remaining yeast still present in the wine and the special storage conditions had probably triggered a subsequent fermentation in some of the bottles. The two knowledgeable cellar masters decided that it was a special treat! To prevent carbon dioxide from escaping from this wine again, Dom Perignon developed a new bottle cap. Where previously the bottles had been plugged with oil-soaked cloths or rigid wooden plugs, Dom Perignon now used a cork, which he tied with cords to the bottleneck.
Dom Perignon chose the nearby chalk caves to store the wine. The combination of coolness and moisture created an ideal climate for the wine to ripen evenly. This is how good champagne could be made.
In order for the wine to ferment in the bottle, particularly thick-walled bottles were required that could withstand the pressure. These were contributed by the English, who had produced sparkling wines with spice mixtures early on.
Dom Perignon in turn is said to have filled the bottles with 0.7 liters. At that time, men usually consumed this amount at dinner.
Dom Perignon’s services to the production of fine wines earned him fame during his lifetime. Not only was a memorial to him later in the Moet & Chandon house, but above all the world-class Dom Perignon champagne bears his name.
Dom Perignon’s Vintages
The Dom Perignon is perhaps the best known and most successful prestige cuvée in Champagne and is produced in very special vintages by the Moët & Chandon champagne house. Estimates say that around 4 million bottles of Dom Perignon are sold annually.
Every year the same question arises: Is there a Dom Perignon this year? The one who decides this is Richard Geoffroy, cellar master at Dom Pérignon. Only made in the very best years, each cuvée of this vintage champagne is a big event. In a mostly spectacularly staged tasting, the new vintages are presented to the press and a select international audience.
Dom Perignon’s beginnings with vintage 1921
The first Cuvée of Dom Pérignon was produced in 1921 and sold from 1935. The first customers were English, and it was a grand success. Dom Pérignon’ fame spread quickly to America, where it was particularly valued by billionaire James Buchanan Duke, the founder of the American Tobacco Company. He ordered 100 bottles. 17 of these bottles were sold in an auction at Christie’s in New York in 2004.
Dom Pérignon Vintages: only in very special years
Since 1921 only 43 vintages of the Dom Pérignon have been produced: 1921, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1934, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009.
The last two vintages Dom Pérignon 2003 and Dom Pérignon 2004 were presented after 8 years of storage in 2012 and 2013 and have been sold since then. The 2009 vintage began to be sold starting September 2019.
An assemblage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
The Dom Pérignon is always made up of the same parts: 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay. However, there may also be differences depending on the vintage. For example in the 1982 vintage there was 60% Chardonnay whereas in the 1969 vintage there was 60% Pinot Noir. The grapes come from the best and sunniest vineyards in Champagne. According to Richard Geoffroy, the minimum storage period must be 7 years.
The different cuvées of Dom Perignon
The classic: Dom Pérignon Brut Millésimé
The famous: Dom Pérignon Grande Vintage Collection
The pink version: Rosé Grand Vintage Brut
The fine: Dom Pérignon Brut Rosé Millésimé
The Dom Pérignon Brut Oenothèque Millésimé
Dom Perignon Oenothèque – the pinnacle of champagne production
The new flagship product of the renowned champagne house is the Dom Perignon Oenothèque, which was co-developed by the current Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy. This exquisite product uses the same cuvée as the Dom Perignon Vintage but has a particularly long maturation period of 13 years on average. During this ripening period, it is observed very closely. The maturity proceeds in individual stages. When the climax of a stage, the Plénitude, is reached, a new Oenothèque (or P2 Plénitude) is presented. The Dom Pérignon Oenothèque is expensive champagne and a special quality product among the champagne brands. Everything that the art of champagne production offers is used here to achieve a unique quality.