Atelier Dom Pérignon

25. Februar 2015Deutsch


It`s a gloomy Tuesday afternoon and I am standing in the middle of Dom Pérignon's vineyards, a two-hour ride away from vibrant Paris. It`s magically quiet and peaceful, as if Mother Nature is collecting its strength before flourishing in spring. What I am about to experience in the coming five hours is beyond expectations, even for Dom Pérignon.

The prestigious brand is now offering a one-of-a-kind champagne workshop launched under the name "Atelier Dom Pérignon". If you`ve ever wondered about the multiple colors of champagne, the difference between first and second nose and the phenomenon of Plénitude, this is your place to be.

A while back the monk Dom Pérignon had the ambition of creating the worlds` best wine (first learning step: champagne is wine) and the brand`s intention has not changed ever since. The legendary champagne house is extremely proud of producing vintage wines only, which means they never mix grapes of several years. However, if the harvest is not satisfying enough to their Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy (who can easily go as "the Karl Lagerfeld" of the wine industry), they can – for the sake of excellent quality - afford to simply not produce that year`s champagne at all. With excitement the public always awaits whether Dom Pérignon is launching their vintage or not, but let`s be honest - even for Dom Pérignon it must be tough to skip it completely. Their champagne is more than bubbles, "it`s a piece of art" says Stéphan Henry, their international education manager and brand ambassador. Art is indeed an important topic, since their cooperation with artist is as much in the spotlight as their champagne itself. Monsieur Geoffroy claims that the mutual inspiration of an artist is the fuel for the power of Dom Pérignon. Their limited collections are always worth a fortune more than their normal bottles especially the Jeff Koons edition was sold out immediately.

After strolling through the vineyards and the monastery in Hautvillers, it`s time for the Atelier Dom Pérignon. In groups of twelve you will find yourself in a light-flooded, puristic tasting room which is kept rather cold in order to fully experience the champagne. The three empty glasses in front of you will be filled with rich-tasting, sparkling rarities, but this time it`s not about drinking champagne, it`s about deliberately enjoying its exquisite character with all its varieties. Two men dressed completely in black will pour you a glass of the 2004 vintage, which was an easy, almost perfect year for Dom Pérignon. But even before touching the glass (Richard Geoffroy recommends to drink great champagne in wine glasses, not in narrow champagne flutes) an expert will encourage to carefully observe the color. Dom Pérignon always shines in a pale, light yellow - never brownish. The later the grapes are harvested, the darker the shades of champagne. The brightness and pale yellow are due to the blending of pinot noir and chardonnay and the maturation on the lees.

People with different levels of expertise will join you, so the brand ambassador will start from scratch. Now is the time to ask anything you`ve ever wanted to know about Dom Pérignon or champagne in general, every question is appreciated and answered with passion. Learning about the art of champagne is fascinating for anyone, but real champagne lovers are now truly in heaven.

The scent of champagne changes with swirling it, so before doing so experience the first nose and open the wine later on. When tasting the champagne, try to also swallow a little bit of air, so the champagne can unfold completely in your mouth. When you`re still tasting fruits, herbs and minerals 10-30 seconds after, you know you are sipping something special. If you liked the 2004`s generosity, get ready to feel the energy of the 1998 P2 with its 16 years of maturation on the lees. Everything you like about Dom Pérignon is now pushed to a new level, the concept of Plénitude underlines its distinctive mineral character. You will finish the tasting with a 2003 Rosé which is an explosion of strawberry, apricot, smoke and brioche - once you`ve tasted these precious bubbles it`s hard to go back to normal pink champagne.

Being spoiled all afternoon feels fantastic, especially if it involves meeting Richard Geoffroy and tasting incredible champagne and exquisite food. But just when you thought the experience was over, you will enter the so-called "dark room". In order not to kill the surprise we won`t say much, but there was a reason you just learned how to drink champagne with all your senses.

Experience the Atelier Dom Pérignon yourself and book your ticket now on Starting in June 2015 there will be sessions held in French and English, for 600 Euros per person La Maison Dom Pérignon will welcome you in the little village of Hautvillers just outside of Épernay - the champagne capital. Apart from serving liquid gold, Dom Pérignon opens its doors to the inner core of its luxury brand for the first time. And don`t worry - there is a well-stocked shop in the town of Épernay where you can buy all these rare releases that are normally so challenging to find. Once you`re out there, the 600 Euros will no longer seem to be a high figure.

Katharina Baumann,