In 1993, the American heiress Doris Duke left this world. Besides countless tales of adventure that would make one drop a glass in astonishment, she also left an extensive fortune including a number of international homes. Investigation of a cellar at one of her homes revealed a treasure.
Her billionaire father had ordered 100 bottles of Dom Pérignon 1921, the first vintage year, on their release in the 1930s. 2004 saw the auction at Christie’s in New York of the few remaining bottles from that purchase. According to Dom Pérignon cellar master Richard Geoffroy, the 1921 vintage had a 'distinctive bouquet comprising sandalwood, vanilla and praline'.
At the end of the 17th Century, Dom Pierre Pérignon stated his ambition to create ‘the best wine in the world’. On 29 September 1694, Dom Pierre Pérignon wrote that his mission was to create “the best wine in the world.” He dedicated himself to improving viticulture techniques, perfecting the art blending grapes from different crus, and introduced the gentle and fractional pressing to obtain white wine from black grapes.Ever since, the House of Dom Pérignon has perpetuated this visionary approach instilled by its founder, one that remains a hallmark of true luxury: the constant reinvention of the exceptional.
Under the creative leadership of cellar master Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon is reinvented with every vintage. The miraculous concept of assemblage – the delicate balance between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – and the commitment to Vintage are instrumental in the act of creation, revealing the wine's extra soul. Precise and tactile to the point of seamlessness, tense through rhythm and vibrancy, vigorous and fresh yet mature, intense and complex – such is the sensual style of Dom Pérignon: so inviting, yet so mysterious...
The core of the blend are the eight historical Grands Crus, Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Le Mesnil, plus the legendary Hautvillers Premier Cru. Dom Perignon also has the unique privilege of being able to select grapes from all 17 Grands Crus in Champagne. giving birth to Dom Perignon's highly intriguing contrast".
This super vintage 1921 in Champagne escorted a new phenomenom to the world of glorious wines. This
was the prestige cuvee called Dom Pérignon. This small vintage yielded only 1,400 bottles of the first Dom Pérignon ever.
A very fine, hot summer. Harvesting began on 19 September. The spring frosts destroyed a large part of the crop, but what was left displayed marvellous quality.
Exceptionally pale for its age, the wine showcases an intriguing bouquet of toasted sandalwood, vanilla, honey, praline and marzipan. On the palate, one is struck by the life, the energy and the backbone. It remains focused, with a lacy texture. A key feature is the tremendous persistence of dry nutty flavors. Overall, a model of balance and concentration.
Richard Geoffroy, February 2004
In 1936, the prestigious ocean liner Normandie left Le Havre port for New York.
In its hold, it carried one hundred cases containing twelve bottles each of the 1921 vintage of
Dom Pérignon. These were the first bottles of Dom Pérignon to arrive on American soil - just in time for Christmas and New Year’s Day – they were an immediate success.