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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.
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".
AN ACT OF CREATION TO REFLECT THE VISION OF DOM PÉRIGNON
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 CHAMPAGNE DEFINES THE SHAPE OF THE GLASS
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.
A TRANSCENDENT FORM FOR A HARMONIOUS EXPERIENCE
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
DOM PÉRIGNON VINTAGE 1961 /THE HARVEST
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”
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.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
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|1 450€ +28.8%
|1 126€ +22.3%