Dom Perignon 1996
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
On the nose, this wine opens with notes of red-fleshed peaches, rapidly evolving into cashew nuts and dried herbs. The aromatic experience finishes on a note of lightly toasted brioche. On the palate, it offers a host of well-orchestrated, precise and full-bodied tastes. The initial density becomes creamy, while the long finish ends on a note of glazed citrus fruit. The unique Dom Perignon style: a rich creamy mousse, fine bubbles, a spirited, crisp opening leading into a broad palette of aromas and tastes, the delicacy of substance itself. Each Cuvee Dom Perignon is cellar-aged for 6 to 8 years.
To taste Dom Perignon is to discover the unique spirit and style of a truly great wine of Champagne. Every stage of vineyard selection, winemaking and slow cellar aging is, in itself, a quest for perfection.
The Wine Advocate - "I have had a lot of great vintages of Dom Perignon, but I do not remember any as impressive as the 1996. Even richer than the brilliant 1990, the 1996 is still tightly wound, but reveals tremendous aromatic intensity, offering hints of bread dough, Wheat Thins, tropical fruits, and roasted hazelnuts. Medium to full-bodied, with crisp acidity buttressing the wines wealth of fruit and intensity, it comes across as extraordinarly zesty, well-delineated, and incredibly long on the palate. Moet-Chandon deserves considerable accolades for this prodigious example of Dom Perignon. Anticipated maturity: now-2020+."
Wine Enthusiast - "This minerally. toasty wine has flavors of almonds and white stone fruits, and a long, finish. It is still young, and is just coming into great balance. Elegant and ethereal. "
International Wine Cellar - "Very pale color. Wonderfully complex, musky aromas of minerals, ginger, lemon, earth, mushroom, smoke and brioche; with aeration, this showed sweaty saline and chicken broth notes that reminded me of Le Montrachet, as well as a captivating topnote of fresh rose petal. Fat, ripe and mouthfilling without being at all heavy. Loaded with flavor and long and delicious on the aftertaste. In the same quality league as the superb '95, but does it have the grip of that wine? I should note that some other tasters report having bottles more in the backward, structured style of this vintage."
Wine Spectator - "This features floral, candied citrus, pencil shaving and hazelnut aromas and flavors. It's fresh and focused, with a firm structure offset by a mouthfilling richness and a lacy texture. Not a blockbuster, but seamless and seductive in its approach. Drink now through 2010."
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Dom Perignon Winery
Dom Pérignon, a seventeeth-century cellarmaster of the Abbey of Hautvillers, is revered as the spiritual father of winemaking in the Champagne region. Keen observation, respect for nature, pragmatic creativity, technical innovation, the courage of his convictions, and patience were the instruments serving his vision. He constantly mastered and incorporated all its components and the stages of its production, from the vineyards themselves to the pressing and clarification of the wines and their preservation.
Dom Pérignon was the originator of new techniques for cultivating vines and making wine. These innovations spread rapidly throughout the region.
Today, Dom Pérignon is produced by France's largest Champagne house, Moët et Chandon. Dom Pérignon’s principle contribution in the 20th century has been its commitment to vintage years. In addition to the exclusive use of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from only the finest growths and vineyards, Dom Pérignon strictly limits itself to wines of the very best years, which have undergone long ageing.
The Dom Pérignon style is constructed by the Chef de Cave to create a range of sensations on the palate that reflect all the complexity of the structure, and the aromas and characteristics of the vintage. View all Dom Perignon Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.