On occasion, life throws you opportunities to drink something very special. And while CT is not about how much you can spend on quality champagne (moreover, we’re about how much you could save) we also think that any chance of being able to experience the upper echelons of the drink should never be ignored!
So to cover these drinks we have created a “Splash Out” section of tasting notes (un-scored) to give an impression of bottles over $100. We hope you enjoy our humble opinions.
Dom Pérignon. If you don’t know the name (or its shortened version: Dom), then in all likelihood you’ve been living under a rock for the last few hundred years.
It is the most famous name in all of champagne associated with the highest level of luxury – mostly due to pop culture. It has been the preferred drink of James Bond, is it mentioned in numerous songs about being ridiculously wealthy and even pops up in elite A-List soirees and clubs. Just as parent company LVMH likes it. The big, dark grey shield labelled, fat-bottomed bottles are instantly recognisable.
Dom is the branding of Moet et Chandon’s (of Epernay) premium wines and not a house in its own right. It is a (trademarked) throwback to a monk; Dom Pérignon – a man who dedicated much of his life to the pursuit of improving many of the production and fermentation techniques that are still practised in Champagne governing body still enforces today.
Much of the man is legend; and like all good legends there exists some truth and some falsehood.
One such falsehood is that Pérignon invented sparkling wine. He did not.
Another is that he was blind – a misconception taken from his practice of “blind tasting” grapes prior to using them in wines!
But the truths are also plentiful. Pressing techniques, grape varietals and harvesting practices were all heavily influenced by Pérignon in his pursuit of fine tuning what was once a very volatile drink.
Returning back to the champagnes of today; Dom (like many premium champagnes) does not make wines in terrible vintages and as such you will find gaps in the release years.
Some good years are better than others – and each expression of an annual harvest will offer a unique flavour profile; although most Chef de Caves’ (Chief wine makers) will endeavour to blend an accurate recreation the brands particular style, with the nuances of each seasons fruit providing variation.
The year in question in this piece is a 2004, which I was lucky to share with some friends during their first wedding anniversary (I was best-man – the entitlements are great!).
From: Epernay, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: ~$250 a bottle available from most big Liquor retailers
Blend Ratio (%): Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (35/40/25) with N/A g/l dosage.
Aging: XXX years
Sipped: Early Jan 2018
In the Glass:
Look: Soft golden colour with a medium strength bubble stream.
Smell: Slight vinegar nose with a soft wet dough note and trace of citrus.
Taste: Opening drive of lemon tart – its got lemon and the bready flavour of yeast – that runs away fast. It develops sourness during this.
Got lots of extra fresh flavours – green apple and lemon – but they don’t stand out and the end result is a bit delicate, or rather weak.
Drinkable and goes down without trouble, but not much body to it.
Party Potential: If you have a 20% off discount card at porters… well you may save yourself some serious coin for proper champers. It’ll be drinkable.
As a Gift: It’s too unknown to be a mainstream gift. It’ll serve as an oddball one.
At Home: For the price, it spices up a fancy little stay at home dinner quite well.
Score & Verdict:
At $55 I feel it is only reasonable value for the quality.
How did I drink it?
Celebrating my friends 1st wedding anniversary!
How did you drink it?
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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