Dom Pérignon winemaker Vincent Chaperon says it all started in the 17th Century with Dom Pierre Pérignon, a French Benedictine monk known as the father of champagne.
Dom Pierre was born and died in the same years as Louis XIV and developed champagne so extraordinary it was served in the court of the Sun King.
Vincent says that Dom Pierre had incredible vision and brought different techniques to winemaking: blending different varieties, putting wine in bottles instead of wooden casks, and maturating wine in the bottle.
Vincent says this really pushed champagne production into the production of bubbles and sparkling champagne.
Today, Dom Pérignon produces three different types of wine -- vintage, rosé, and plenitudes -- on the same property, 40 minutes northeast of Paris, in Champagne, which is also the name of the region.
Dom Pérignon only uses pinot noir and chardonnay grape varieties, which are located in two regions in Champagne. The pinot noir comes from the Montagne de Reims, or the Reims hill. The chardonnay grapes come from the Côte des Blancs.
Dom Pérignon sets itself apart by only producing vintage champagnes. That means all the grapes must come from the same year.
Vincent says they are taking a risk not producing in years they have the deeper intuition that they won't be able to achieve the quality they want.
The last decade was one of their finest. Vincent compares it to the 1960s, a fantastic decade for Dom Pérignon. In the first decade of this century, Dom Pérignon produced in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. It was the first time in the history of the brand that they released five vintages in a row.
This spring, Dom Pérignon released its P2 vintage 2000, the second release from that year. By law, Champagne can't be released before 20 months of maturation, Vincent says.
Dom Pérignon never releases a vintage before a minimum of 8 or 9 years. That is called the first release. The Plenitude 2 or P2 is released after 16 to 20 years of maturation in the bottle.
That longer maturation is so extraordinary that Robb Report magazine singled out the P2 2000 as one of the best white wines in the world. David Arnold, managing director at Robb Report, calls the P2 truly magnificent and says they were very fortunate to taste it for their June Best of the Best issue.
Vincent says tasting is at the center of what Dom Pérignon does, so he also invited us to taste the P2. It was so elegant, like an ocean wave of champagne. Vincent says after 16 years in the bottle, the bubbles have progressively transformed into a smooth, creamy sensation. It is simply more Dom Pérignon, he says.