One of the most iconic of all Champagne brands, Dom Pérignon takes its name from the Benedictine monk who is credited with the discovery of Champagne and also the first person to use ‘cork’ corks instead of wood. The first Dom Perignon Champagne was produced back in 1921 and became available to buy in 1936. As with all Vintage Champagnes, they are only produced in a year when the grape quality is deemed to be good enough, so not every year is a vintage and a vintage Champagne is made purely from that years harvest and not with a mixture of previous years.
Are You A Dom Perignon Vintage?
So far there have been thirty-eight Dom Perignon vintages and these have been produced in the years listed below, is one of those your birth year?
1921 – This was the first year that Dom Perignon was produced and came from a year that had a very hot summer preceded by a spring which suffered from heavy frosts which actually destroyed much of the crop. A very pale colour Champagne but tasted exceptional.
1926 - Again due to hailstones when the grapes were being picked in early September, much of the harvest was lost. In fact this was a very hard year with up to a third of the harvest being lost in total due to one thing or another. However, with a late harvest actioned quickly a good tasting Champagne was produced.
1928 – This was an excellent year and much easier than its predecessor. The harvest produced only an average crop in size but the grapes were fantastic. This led to a fresh and exotic nose to the Dom Perignon Champagne and produced a stunning colour.
1929 – This was one of the biggest harvests in size and yield and again followed a fine long hot summer.
1934 – Dom Perignon produced in this year, the first of the 30’s was good but not fantastic, by Dom Perignon Champagne standards. The harvest didn’t suffer too much at the hands of Mother Nature.
1943 – Nine years since the last vintage this Dom Perignon was of exceptional quality. Harvest took place in mid-September and the grapes were perfect. This Champagne had a tremendous base flavour which in turn produced a luxurious taste.
1947 – This year saw one of the earliest harvests of all time, starting on the 5th of September and was a perfect Dom Perignon year.
1949 – Of all the Dom Perignon vintage years, 1949 remains in the top 5 ever produced. Harvesting was completed quickly and the yield suffered few losses.
1952 – This years harvest was done under difficult weather conditions and produced a deep golden coloured Champagne.
1953 – An easy year to harvest and all in all suffered very few problems.
1955 – A very late harvest which didn’t start until October. Produced higher grape quantities than that of other years. This Dom Perignon was well-rounded and produced a great balanced Champagne.
1959 – Near perfect harvesting conditions this year which combined to make a very, very good Dom Perignon vintage. So good in fact it was referenced in a couple of James Bond films!!
1961 – An average year in both terms of yield produced and weather conditions throughout the seasons.
1962 – The spring of this year was a tough one with storms and hail. Flowering of the crop was late which continued to produce a late harvest time of early October. This made for a very dry tasting Champagne.
1964 – A very hot and fine summer produced a good harvest and led to a Champagne that has a butterscotch taste that lingers on the tongue – a lovely Dom Perignon vintage.
1966 – The grapes produced and harvested this year were in great condition and made a Champagne which has a smokey vanilla taste.
1969 – A difficult year weather wise, with a harvest that couldn’t start until October. Produced a strong well-structured Champagne.
1970 – This vintage generated an abundant crop of great grapes. The Dom Perignon produced had a young, fresh taste.
1971 – A tough year for producing good quality grapes. Flowering in June, harvest took place in mid-September. The Champagne had a golden colour with a lively elegant taste.
1973 – A dryer than normal late summer but didn’t affect the grapes in a negative way. A later harvest which led to a Dom Perignon which had a slightly roasted, spicy flavour.
1975 – The weather was kind to the harvest in this year and although couldn’t take place until the end of September, produced a rounded, fleshy tasting Champagne.
1976 – A very long hot dry summer reduced the period between flowering and harvest from the usual 100 days down to 84. The grapes of this year were good and of outstanding quality.
1978 – A really late harvest in this year which didn’t start until mid-October. A low yield of grapes but the Dom Perignon produced is a well constituted Champagne that has kept well.
1980 – The first vintage of the eighties produced a small and late harvest but nonetheless gave a golden coloured Champagne that was clean and pure to taste.
1982 – A warm summer in this year which produced perfect grape growing conditions. Harvest began in mid-September and the Champagne was light and elegant to taste.
1983 – A hot summer with heavy rain just before harvest time made excellent quality grapes in this year. This Dom Perignon vintage was well structured with a long finish. One of the better years and golden in colour.
1985 – The fourth vintage of the decade by 1985 went to show how favourable the weather had come to be at this point and 1985 didn’t fail. The weather was exceptional for grapes and harvest started at the end of September. The Champagne was full in flavour.
1988 – The last Dom Perignon vintage of this decade. A difficult summer of both heavy rain and high temperatures led to a Champagne with subtle floral hints.
1990 – A difficult year once more with heavy spring frosts and cold rain. However, the harvest was helped towards the end of the growing season by a heat wave and heavy downpours.
1992 – A lovely long hot summer led to great healthy grapes and a good yield. The Dom Perignon of this year was intense, floral and lively to taste.
1993 – Average temperatures but very high amounts of sunshine and drought. These conditions led this years Dom Perignon to be both citrus in taste and dry.
1995 – Fantastic growing conditions in this year. A heat wave from June to the end of August helped temperatures to a thirty year high. This gave the Champagne a lovely roundness with hints of almond and apricot.
1996 – A changeable year with regard to the weather, with both a mixture of hot dry weather and wetter periods. Dom Perignon in this year tastes very well in deed, giving hints of vanilla and lemons which leaves an enduring richness on the tongue.
1998 – Carrying on with a great decade of Dom Perignon vintages 1998 was exceptionally hot and many of the grapes suffered with burning. Late August brought with it high rainfall which delayed the harvest but led to some great grapes. The flavour has a slight undertone of citrus and initial notes of almond combine to create a lovely Champagne.
1999 – The last vintage of both the decade and the millennium gave a big crop with good all-round character. This years Dom Perignon had playful hints of coconut and cinnamon and was full of flavour.
2000 – The new millennium started with cooler than average temperatures and plenty of rain. From this Dom Perignon 2000 tastes quite sharp with hints of liquorice and ginger.
2002 – The weather was most favourable for grape growers this year and with no heavy spring frosts or heavy rains in summer the grapes were in very good condition when harvest took place in mid-September. The Champagne itself had an intensive flavour with aromas of lemon and other fresh fruits.
2003 – The most recent vintage released thus far and the 38th in total. Dom Perignon vintage 2003 came from a summer that was a
scorcher, the hottest in the region for 53 years. The crop in this year was perfect and very similar to those from other years such as 1947, 59 and 76. The Champagne has bright floral notes, is fresh and yet refined to taste.
So whether you were born in a Dom Perignon vintage year or not, you definitely need to have tasted this Champagne several times during your lifetime!