Dom Perignon 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 Moet & 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.
The 2008 Dom Pérignon is once again stunning. More than anything else, I am surprised by how well the 2008 drinks given all the tension and energy it holds. Then again, that is precisely what makes 2008 such a unique vintage – namely that the best wines are so chiseled and yet not at all austere. Lemon peel, almond, mint, smoke and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted, but it is the wine’s textural feel, drive and persistence that elevate it into the realm of the sublime. The 2008 will be even better with time in the cellar, but it is absolutely phenomenal even today, in the early going. Three recent bottles have all been nothing short of magnificent.