The Champagne Dom Perignon Vintage 2012
A spectacular prestige cuvée that is a pleasure now but will only get better with time.
What do James Bond, Princess Diana, Lenny Kravitz . have in common? A special connection to Dom Pérignon. Few names evoke luxury and abundance – or Plénitude – as Dom Pérignon does. The prestige cuvée of the Moët et Chandon Champagne house has a firm place in pop culture, having been referenced in countless films and hip hop songs. But the iconic brand also consistently produces champagnes rated by critics as nothing short of exceptional.
Like every Dom Pérignon, the Grand Cuvée is strictly vintage, making it a direct reflection of the year of its creation. And boy, was the year 2012 a rollercoaster ride in terms of climate – with scorching heat, wild precipitation, and bone-chilling cold. Remarkably, this made for an excellent vintage. Like a phoenix from the ashes, an extraordinary Champagne emerged from the mildew and frost of early 2012, prompting some to speak of a miracle.
As usual, the exact balance of the blend remains a secret. Traditionally, Dom Pérignon is composed of roughly equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, although some vintages can have a slightly different composition.
- In the glass, golden yellow hues with a vibrant, persistent perlage.
- The nose is voluptuous and deep, with scents of white flowers and yellow stone fruit, followed by crisp tartness and minimal smokiness on the finish.
- On the palate, lively effervescence, well-balanced acidity, slight bitter notes and hints of pastry, with the typical reductiveness, rounded off by a clean minerality.
- Elegant enough to pair with light seafood dishes, powerful enough to keep up with flavorful meat.
The Dom Pérignon Champagne House
The Benedictine monk Pierre Pérignon, the namesake of Moët et Chandon’s prestige cuvée, is said to have made significant contributions to the quality of champagne we enjoy today. In 1668, Dom Pérignon took up his role as cellarmaster at the Abbey of Hautvillers, which is still standing today on a hillside overlooking the Marne Valley thanks, in part, to efforts by Moët et Chandon to further its preservation.
Now considered a separate Champagne House, Dom Pérignon is only available as a vintage, making each bottle a unique embodiment of the year of its harvest. Vincent Chaperon, who replaced Richard Geoffroy as Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave in 2018, is not only responsible for the assemblage but also decides whether there will be a vintage at all that year – depending on the quality of the harvest and age-ability. If the grapes are not up to his standards, no vintage will be released.
They are released in three stages – dubbed Plénitues: The first is released as “Dom Pérignon Vintage” after a minimum of 8 years, which is then re-released in a more intense version about 15 years later as Plénitude 2, or Dom Pérignon P2. Finally, the last Plénitude, P3, is considered ready after about 25 years.