If you’re among the many who have considered collecting vintage bottles of Dom Perignon, it’s important to learn all you can to ensure the value is not compromised. Dom Perignon champagne is quite delicate and must be handled and stored in a certain way to maintain its quality and its value as a collectible.
How It Began
There was a Benedictine monk in the 17th century that supposedly revolutionized the wine-making process, and this is where Dom Perignon took its name from. The monk was at the forefront of blending various grapes to create more complex and interesting flavors. He is credited with being the first to use corks in wine bottles and with being gentle with the grapes so the colors weren’t released by the skins.
Of course, none of this has to do with the world famous champagne that bears his name today, but Dom Perignon the monk did advance the wine-making industry an awful lot. The first time Dom Perignon champagne was produced was in 1921, by a French winery named Moet and Chandon. It wasn’t released until 1936.
Three Peaks of Maturity
The price of Dom Perignon champagne depends a lot on its vintage age or maturity. The flavor and complexity is said to change as it matures, so the company uses three peaks of maturity. The first peak is around seven years after vintage, the second peak is 15 to 20 years after vintage and the third is 25-plus years after vintage. No bottle of Dom Perignon is ever released until it has at least reached the first peak of maturity. Vintages that have met the second or third peak are released with the Oenotheque label, which generally makes them more desirable and expensive.
Proper Storage Techniques
Of course, this journey from grapes to world-class champagne can all be for naught if the bottles aren’t stored correctly. When aging bottles of Dom Perignon, you must have the right environment for it to thrive. Light, heat, air and humidity can have a horrible effect and a proper wine cellar is a must.
The makers of Dom Perignon advise you keep the bottles at a consistent temperature of 52 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, in complete darkness. It isn’t necessary to lay the bottles on their sides like with wine, because there should be enough humidity inside the bottle already. Choose wood racks over metal if possible, as they will help control the humidity in the cellar and will be less likely to damage the bottles or the labels.