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Dom Pérignon 1961 – The Choice of Charles and Diana

Gilded by the morning sun, the Buckingham Palace balcony awaited its grand moment, empty. The street parties that had gone on through the night in London had quietened down, and the square in front of the balcony began to fill with citizens, press and tourists hungry for romance. As the time neared ten o’clock, the crowds were about to be rewarded for their patience.

            At 10:30 a.m. exactly, royal carriages started out from the Palace, marking the beginning of a precisely orchestrated royal performance. The first carriage bore the groom, HRH Prince Charles, accompanied by his brother, Prince Andrew. Five minutes later, the future Princess of Wales and the heroine of the day, Lady Diana Spencer, stepped into a carriage at the Queen Mother’s house, accompanied by her father. Her face was concealed by a veil and the first glimpse could be caught of the wedding dress designed by Emmanuel, which had until then been a closely guarded secret. The huge sleeves, ruffles and lace of the dress, as well as the long train – whose length had been calculated and tested according to the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral – filled up the carriage, just as they had filled most of the column space in the British media for weeks.

            As the royal carriages travelled towards St. Paul’s they caused a wave of euphoria, a massive sea of sound, whose hundreds of thousands of congratulations and tears still rippled through the streets of London the next day. Tears welled into many eyes outside of London, too, as an estimated 750 million viewers around the world followed the fairy-tale wedding on TV.

Excitement and nerves were palpable during the wedding ceremony. The young bride stumbled over the order of the names of her husband-to-be, but she was not alone: the groom also promised to share with her “thy worldly goods” instead of his own. The ceremony with its three thousand guests was festive and moving.

One of the climaxes of the long day was the opening of the doors to the patiently waiting balcony at Buckingham Palace, at exactly 1:15 p.m. The 20-year-old newly minted Diana, Princess of Wales stepped out with her husband, Prince Charles. Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers surrounding the Palace witnessed their kiss.

            After the famous kiss and the official wedding photography session by Lord Snowdon, the Queen invited friends and family for a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace. The dinner consisted of brill in lobster sauce, supreme de volaille Princesse de Galles (chicken breast stuffed with lamb mousse) and strawberries with cream from Cornwall. All the dishes were served on golden plates and accompanied by the finest of champagnes: Dom Pérignon 1961.

            Ninety-nine magnum bottles of the 1961 vintage of Dom Pérignon, which is considered by many experts to be one of the best champagnes ever produced, were specially brought from the Moët & Chandon champagne cellars for the wedding. A further twelve magnums of the same vintage were ordered, six for Palace staff and six for charity. According to Moët & Chandon, this specific cuvée was never released for public sale.


Tastingbook have tasted the 1961 Dom Pérignon on several occasions, but these specific magnum bottles always carry a special significance. A special label was designed for the wedding magnums to tell the tale of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana on 29 July 1981. These bottles were recorked in 1981, which means that they have more of the autolytic character brought by recorking than other bottles from that year.

by Nuikki


The Story

 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".

It begins with a vision: Dom Pérignon’s creative ambition strives towards harmony as a source of emotion.
All creative processes have their constraints. Dom Pérignon's constraint is the vintage. Dom Pérignon can only be produced from the harvest of a single year. Dom Pérignon is one and indivisible.

Its Vintages express themselves fully into three dimensions:
The year: the character of the seasons;
The Plénitudes: evolution by successive windows of expression on the way of the long maturation on lees;
The colour: white or rosé.

Can one single glass be created to fully express the champagne across years, Plénitudes and colors? Thus guarantee the best tasting experience: on the eye, on the nose and on the palate. Dom Pérignon chose to take on this challenge with the experience of Richard Geoffroy, passing on its intangible legacy to its successor, Vincent Chaperon, and the savoir-faire of Maximilian Riedel, CEO of Riedel, and 11th generation of the family.

The Riedel glass tradition dates back to 1673 in Bohemia, but Claus Riedel, 9th generation, was the first to create purely functional glasses directly inspired by the Bauhaus movement: form follows function. Since the end of the 1950s, the company Riedel has consistently created the best possible glasses to highlight the qualities of complex wines in the nose and mouth. Today, its founding principle is that the wine alone defines the final shape of the glass, and no preconceived design or trend should intervene in its elaboration.

The “Dom Pérignon” glass came to life in a creative process that unfolded over the course of a year. The new glass emerged through numerous tastings and ultimately took form following critiques and refinements.

Riedel designed the “Dom Pérignon” glass to be in symbiosis with every Vintages of the House, shedding a light on the singularity of Dom Pérignon. Unfailingly true to Dom Pérignon’s vision, the new glass sets the stage for harmony by enhancing:
- Weight: substantial, yet with a certain lightness and ease, powerful but not forceful
- Flow: a tension, a “yin & yang” that enables the wine to express itself without exaggerating any dimension of its complexity
- Texture: continuous, seamless, tactile
- Finish: fruit-driven, encompassing both minerality and salinity

“The Dom Pérignon glass is magic, a success in both functionality and design. It feels very good in your hand and makes you even more excited about the Dom Pérignon in the fine glass.” said Riedel. The new “Dom Pérignon” glass will be used for all Dom Pérignon tastings and experiences, as well at selected partners locations. It is also available for consumer purchase on Clos19 or Riedel website.

Dom Pérignon Glass by Riedel


Wine Information


After an extended winter, the spring of 1962 was hit hard by storms and hail. The early summer was cold, and flowering was late and lingering. Fine weather in September continued well into the harvest, which did not begin until October 4th.

Tasted several times, “dry dry” and “very dry” appear and reappear from 1971. A lovely firm champagne, highly elegant and refined. Then not tasted for ten years, but still clear, with a lovely effervescence. To generalise: characteristic “dryness” of chardonnay on the nose. On the palate, very dry, medium-bodied, elegant, excellent flavour and good length – what the French call persistence.

Michael Broadbent, “Le Livre des Millesimes, Les Grands Vins de France”


Vintage 1961

The 1961 vintage in Champagne is celebrated as an exceptional year that yielded wines of outstanding quality and finesse. In this vintage report, we will delve into the key characteristics and highlights of the 1961 Champagne wines.

Weather Conditions: The weather conditions in Champagne during the 1961 growing season were instrumental in shaping the extraordinary character of the vintage. The year began with a mild winter, followed by a spring that brought ideal conditions for flowering. Summer was warm with consistent sunshine, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and steadily. The weather remained favorable throughout the harvest season, resulting in grapes of exceptional quality.

The 1961 Champagne vintage is widely regarded as one of the greatest in the 20th century. These Champagnes are known for their remarkable aging potential and complexity.

Appearance: The 1961 Champagnes typically exhibit a pale golden hue with a fine and persistent effervescence, showcasing their freshness and vitality even after many years of aging.

Nose: On the nose, the 1961 Champagnes offer a captivating bouquet with aromas of citrus zest, white flowers, and hints of toasted brioche. There is a pronounced minerality that adds depth and complexity to the aromatic profile.

Palate: In the mouth, the 1961 Champagnes are marked by their remarkable depth, finesse, and balance. The bubbles are finely integrated, providing a creamy and luxurious mouthfeel. The acidity remains vibrant, lending a refreshing quality to the wines. Flavors of ripe orchard fruits, honeyed notes, and subtle nuttiness intermingle harmoniously. These wines are exceptionally well-balanced, showcasing the elegance and longevity for which Champagne is renowned.

Overall Impressions: The Champagne 1961 vintage is considered a legendary year in the region's history. These wines have aged gracefully and continue to captivate wine enthusiasts with their complexity and character. They are a testament to the exceptional winemaking prowess of Champagne and offer a timeless experience for those fortunate enough to encounter a bottle from this vintage.

For collectors and connoisseurs, the 1961 Champagne wines represent a pinnacle of excellence in the world of sparkling wine. They are a reminder of the enduring appeal and enduring quality that Champagne is known for and serve as a benchmark for exceptional vintages in the region.


Average Bottle Price

2022 2020 2019 2017 2016 2015 2013 2010 2000
1 860€ +28.3% 1 450€ +28.8% 1 126€ +22.3% 921€ +3.5% 890€ +14.0% 781€ +25.6% 622€ +10.5% 563€ +145.9% 229€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Tasting note


Medium, Gold and Evolved


Long, Lingering and Gentle


Toasty, Spice, Vanilla, Apricot, Honey and Mineral


Intense, Seductive, Refined and Round




Average in Acidity, Low alcohol content, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Well-Integrated, Complex, Developing, Medium-bodied, Elegant, Vivid, Round, Dry and Silky tannins


Outstanding and Excellent

Written Notes

I needed a palate refresher, and I could ask for none greater than a magnum of 1961 Dom Perignon Charles and Diana Wedding Cuvee.  This was a come to Jesus wine, and I’m not sure how anyone who attended that wedding didn’t have a religious experience or a baby.  Either or.  This was one of the, if not the, greatest bottle of Champagne I ever had.  It was electric on the palate, bringing the zippedy, doo dah and beautiful day all in one.  It was so young but had such maturity and wisdom to its flavors.  Bready, meaty, oily and long, this was rich, decadent and full of itself, as in its finish and length.  So good as in so great (99M).

  • 99p

Legendary Dom Pérignon Lady Diana magnum still in great condition with delectable elegance and fabulous power.

  • 97p
This vintage of Dom Pérignon has been tasted several times but this particular bottle was something much more than just a regular one. This magnum bottle contained a special label made for the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the 19th of June 1981. These bottles were disgorged late in 1981, carrying more autolysis characters than regular Dom Pérignons of this year. Bright golden yellow colour with energetic fine bubbles. Very rich nose of milk chocolate, roasted coffee beans and bready tones. Dry, crisp acidity with light-bodied style and vibrant rich mousse. Extremely refined, elegant and opulent wine with toastiness, butterscotch and dried fruit, such as date flavours. Mineral lemony bite at the long finish. A very youthful wine still.
  • 99p

Magnum disgorged 1981 for the royal wedding. Pale amber. Amazingly it smells like Dom P?rignon. Notes of putty! Excellent mousse ? hugely lively. You would really think this was decades younger than it is. Extraordinary. Lemony. Dry on the finish, but wonderfully vital, well-balanced fruit and autolysis on the mid palate. Tasted: 20-Oct-2011

  • 100p
Dom Perignon 1961 / Intense golden yellow colour with lazy bubbles. Impressive, voluptuous and creamy nose full of toastiness, roasted coffee, ripe apricots with honeyed overtones and autolyse characters. Crisp, dry and broad palate with lovely texture. Vivid, toasty and citrussy flavours with lingering long finish. Fresh palate and beautifully evolved flavours. 97 points
  • 97p
D - / G 45 min Golden amber colour with no bubbles. Rich toasty and creamy nose with slightly oxidised nutty aromas. Dry and very crisp on palate with moderate mousse, vivid acidity, and plenty of dried fruits. Complex palate with moderately long oxidative finish. Still very balanced wine. In proper condition this wine is extremely rewarding and may be cellared for another 10-12 years.
  • 90p
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Reims, Champagne

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Inside Information


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.

In 1951, Marlene Dietrich served Dom Pérignon at an improvised Christmas dinner with two young friends, the writer Francine du Plessis and the poet Jonathan Williams. This dinner, with Dom Pérignon, became an annual affair.

In 1955, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had his character, the very distinguished 007 Commander of the Royal Navy and officer in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, order a prized bottle of Dom Pérignon vintage 1946.

In 1957, Christian Dior invited Stanley Karnow, journalist, to his hôtel particulier in upscale Passy, located near the Château de la Muette to conduct an interview for Time.The interview took place over a glass (or two) of Dom Pérignon vintage 1949 in the magenta upholstered armchairs and under a stilted Bernard Buffet portrait of the world’s best known fashion designer….Mr. Dior was also an avid gourmet cook who had his own recipes - Dom Pérignon played a starring role in such dishes as salmon in aspic with Dom Pérignon, partridge with Dom Pérignon, sautéed woodcock with Dom Pérignon, and Chicken Dom Pérignon which called for an entire bottle of the wine.

In 1959, Marilyn Monroe met a young Danish screenwriter, Hans Jørgen Lembourn, in New York. They soon took off on a romantic journey to the mountains with “a small stock of Dom Pérignon” – a stock of joy. “

In 1961, Dom Pérignon Vintage 1949 was served at the dinner given at the U.S. Embassy in Paris for Charles de Gaulle and John F. Kennedy during the American’s president’s official visit.

In 1962, Marlene Dietrich published her ABCs. In the book she says “If you manage to get a perfectly chilled Dom Pérignon in a beautiful glass on the terrace of a Parisian restaurant with a view of trees in mid-autumn sunshine, you’ll feel like the most divine person in the world, even if you are used to drinking Champagne.”

In 1971, at an exclusive dinner for international dignitaries in celebration the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great, Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 1959 was served.

In 1981, magnums of Dom Pérignon Vintage 1961 was chosen for the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles.

In 2004, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony selected Dom Pérignon to serve at their wedding reception.

In 2004, with the sale of the Doris Duke collection at Christie’s in New York. A lot of three bottles of Dom Pérignon 1921 sold for US $24,675.

In 2006, Dom Pérignon was enjoyed at the wedding reception of Mathew Vaughn and Claudia Schiffer.

In 2006, bottles of Dom Pérignon were served at the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

In 2008, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon chose Dom Pérignon to toast their wedding in the Bahamas.

In 2008, Dom Pérignon was Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s wine of choice for their wedding celebration.

In 2008, two sales held by Acker Merrall & Condit also left their mark on the history of Dom Pérignon, with three magnums of Dom Pérignon OEnothèque (1966, 1973 and 1976) selling for US $93,260 in Hong Kong, and a lot of two bottles of the legendary Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 1959 selling for US $84,700 in New York.

In 2008, Marc Newsom, the Australian designer changed the very conception of a champagne bucket when he designed for Dom Pérignon a high-tech sculpture that impresses by its size (70 centimeters when closed) in his favorite color, acidic green.

In 2009, Dom Pérignon was served in Versailles at a private dinner held in the hall of mirrors to commemorate the exhibition opening of King Louis IV, the Sun King, and the 300 anniversary of the birth of Luxury. A fitting wine for the recreation of the King’s table, as Père Pérignon’s wines from the Abby of Hautvillers was one of the King’s preferred wines during his life.

In 2010, Dom Pérignon releases Dom Pérignon Wedding.

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