For champagne lovers around the world, two of the bubbly names that top the list are Dom Perignon and Cristal. These high-priced champagnes both offer exceptional flavors and aromas, but their appeal is quite different to true connoisseurs of the world’s best wines and champagnes.
Dom Perignon. The history of Dom Perignon is as intriguing as it’s distinguished reputation. In 1868 in Champagne, France, a young monk named Pierre Perignon was appointed procurator of the wine cellars at Benedictine Abbey. Under his faithful watch until his death in 1715, his wine making techniques created one of the world’s greatest wines. Through the centuries, Dom Perignon gained recognition as the perfect champagne with a taste and reputation that was unequaled.
Dom Perignon, now produced by Moet & Chandon, is a brand of vintage champagne that serves as the producer’s prestige label. It stands out among vintage wines because it’s never produced in weak years, and all grapes used to make each bottle are always harvested in the same year. This special wine making technique produces exceptional quality and flavor in vintage champagne with rare bottles that date back to 1921. Since grapes are harvested each year, the flavor of Dom Perignon varies by label date. Hot, dry harvest seasons produced aromas of spicy, nutty flavors like sandalwood, praline and marzipan, while wet harvest seasons produced floral bouquets with hints of vanilla, honey and almond.
The perfection of Dom Perignon lies in it’s grapes and harvest seasons. Only produced in certain years from 1921 to 2004, it is one of the most sought after champagnes in the world. Wine collectors and connoisseurs are willing to pay staggering prices for a bottle of Dom Perignon in certain vintage years.
Cristal. Like Dom Perignon, Cristal also comes from the Champagne region of France. Started in 1833 by a young entrepreneur, Louis Roederer, these wines developed with rich, flavorful, fruity flavors in contrast to the more pungent flavors of Dom Perignon. Instead of putting focus on the grapes and harvest seasons, Louis Roederer put his focus on the soil where vineyards were nurtured with rich, robust soil that produced a different caliber of grapes.
In 1876, Louis Roederer II made a special champagne with a subtle, fruity flavor for Tsar Alesander II. As a huge success, the special blend was christened “Cristal”, and it paved the way for a different type of taste and aroma that had not been seen before in the world of great wines.
Cristal is a balanced blend of Chardonnay (40 percent) and Pinot Noir (60 percent). Produced only during years when grapes reached perfect maturity, Cristal has a delicate balance with a silky texture and fruity aroma. Flavors are enhanced by a high mineral soil content that brings out citrus notes. Cristal Rose, a blend of Chardonnay (45 percent) and Pinot Noir (55 percent) offers a smooth sweet flavor that brings out hints of red fruits, white flowers and sweet caramel. All Cristal champagne is aged for at least six years and left for eight more months to age. A welcome note to collectors and connoisseurs, Cristal can be stored for more than twenty years in the right environment without losing any freshness or flavor.