The Champagne of Dom Pérignon

Welcome to our video podcast The Champagne of Dom Pérignon – Video Show #47.

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On our visit to Champagne, we had the opportunity to talk again with Richard Geoffroy, the Chef de Cave of Dom Pérignon, to get his perspective on the 2007 harvest – which was literally in progress during our visit.

Made by Moët et Chandon since the late 1920s, this prestige cuvée was named for Pierre Pérignon, a Benedictine monk, who legend has it, came out of the cellar one day yelling to his Benedictine brothers “I am drinking stars!” Richard Geoffroy has been the cellar master for Dom Pérignon for over a decade. Although he has a medical degree from the University of Reims, he never entered private practice, preferring instead to get an additional degree in enology and return to the roots of his family – winemaking.

Join us as we visit with Richard at L’Abbaye de Hautvillers, the birthplace of Champagne.

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The sponsor of this video is the Office of Champagne USA:

08dom2a.jpgEntrance to the Abbey de Hautvilliers, founded in 660 A.D. (Below) Inside of chapel, and Dom Perignon’s burial place next to Dom Jean Royer, the last Abbot of the Monastery




15 Responses to “The Champagne of Dom Pérignon”

  1. 1 Roland Herrmann Dec 19th, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I must protest! Dom Perignon at the forefront of sparkling wine in Champagne. Untrue. The quote was:

    “the home place of champagne, the Abbey of Hautvillers…where Dom Perigon participated in the birth of the new sparkling wine of Champagne”.

    Don’t you guys have any integrity allowing Champagne marketing giant Moet et Chandon to propagate this blatant lie. It is well know that Dom Perignon spent his life trying to get the bubbles, seen then as a fault, out of Champagne by try trying to get his grapes riper. He was among the first to see the relationship between grape yield and quality. He as a master blender whose wine sold for more than 2x the price of wine from most abbeys. A very influential and talented man who had nothing to do with they style of champagne as we know it that. That came about 150 years later.

    Unfortunately this is not the only inaccuracy that I have heard on this site. You should do a better job checking facts, especially when dealing with larger wine companies, who tend to exaggerate or even lie to promote their property.

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Bunch Dec 19th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Wow, nothing like being hit with a shotgun blast right after posting a show. I am dismayed that you would question our integrity. Take issue with the content, or the validity of the content, but this is unfair IMHO.

    I never saw myself as the self proclaimed censor for GR. In all honesty, unless the claim is so outrageous as to be insulting, then I cut them some slack. The placement of that line is subjective. In addition, not everything is so cut and dry. What you call blatant lie, perhaps others would disagree.

    If you wish us to go through every statement of a guest and fact check it, we are going to disappoint you. I do not have the time, money or inclination to do what you are seeking. Perhaps it all boils down to what we have been saying about wine. Make your own judgments.

    I am truly sorry that we have failed to live up to your expectations, but I am very proud of what we do.


  3. 3 GrapeRadio Bunch Dec 19th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Roland, first of all, we are not a public watchdog organization. It is not our intent nor our responsibility to scrutinize the statements of our guests in order to ferret out inaccuracies. The statements stand on their own merits. We may push back from time to time if we feel the need or desire to do so. However, to infer that to allow a perceived “inaccuracy” is somehow a lapse of our “integrity” is a real stretch of the imagination, and an erroneous assumption.

    Secondly, I think M. Geoffroy’s statement “the home place of champagne, the Abbey of Hautvillers…where Dom Perigon participated in the birth of the new sparkling wine of Champagne” is actually quite correct. IMO, regardless of HOW Dom Pérignon participated in the process, he was nevertheless literally there on the spot at the time of Champagne’s birth. Besides, more discoveries than you might imagine began as mistakes.


  4. 4 GrapeRadio Bunch Dec 19th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    That is an excellent point Eric. Geoffroy’s statement is valid. Note the phrase “participated in the birth”. For me, it would be a stretch to say he did not have a role. However, i will not nitpick on Roland’s comment. I admire that he posted about something he felt need to be said. I disagree with it completely, but I like that he spoke his mind.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that Roland works for a direct competitor to DP.


  5. 5 Mark Ryan Dec 19th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Whoa guys, sparkling wine was invented in England – 30 years before the French!

  6. 6 GrapeRadio Bunch Dec 19th, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Well smart ass 🙂 , since the discussion was about the sparkling wine of CHAMPAGNE, your comment is NULL and VOID. 🙂


  7. 7 Roland Herrmann Dec 20th, 2008 at 5:01 am

    OK, I over reacted. I alologize. As a long time restaurant business owner, I have seen over and over as big firms, such as LVMH, come in and both mis-inform wine buyers and consumers in an effort to build their sales.

    I do still take issue that Dom Perignon had anything to do with the birth of sparkling wine. This happened later thanks to, among others: Jean-Antoine Chaptal, Louis Pasteur, Andre Francios and Madame Clicqout (riddling) who were born close to 75 years after Dom Perignon died.

    Once again, I am sorry that I questioned your integrity. It is the integrity of LVMH that I question.

  8. 8 GrapeRadio Bunch Dec 20th, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Apology appreciated and accepted. We are cool, no hard feelings. 🙂

    You just have to love how wine invokes such passion.

    All of us would agree that in any industry, there are people that play loose and fast with the “facts” in order to sell their products. I would venture to guess that most would agree it is possible for 2 people to look at the same facts and interpret them differently. Their positions and claims on based on their interpretation of the facts.

    IMHO, A corporation may possess questionable ethics and practices, but integrity is a characteristic of individuals. I have met a few people at LVMH. A couple of them I have gotten to know very well. I have seen nothing from either of them that would cause me to question their character. As a matter of fact, what I have personally witnessed reinforces my belief they are honorable men.

    BTW, I am not convinced that such minutia really carries much weight in peoples buying decisions.

    If I were to pick a fight, it would be on those USA producers that use the word “Champagne” when referring to their sparkling wine. To me, that kind of outright misleading behavior is inexcusable.

    Lastly, we will be posting more champagne videos, so i will put on some padding. 🙂


  9. 9 James Anders Jul 8th, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Dom Perignon is, undoubtedly, the best champagne there is! I love Dom Perignon. I did not know that the name had something to do with Benedictine Monks. Funny!

  10. 10 Tess Aug 12th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Cool pix you took of the Abbey de Hautvilliers. I always thought it was spelled “don” when it’s actually “dom”. Now I know… 🙂

  11. 11 Eric Sep 13th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    It’s so nice to hear a good debate about champagne that is actually champagne, NOT sparkling wine (sorry Mark). Great pics, too!!

  12. 12 prof M.Browne Sep 22nd, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I must admit that Dom Perignon is also my preferred tipple although I quite enjoy Krug. The picture of Abbey de Hautvilliers brings back memories of my holidays in France.

  13. 13 Juliette Johnson Sep 23rd, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Oh my goodness! I am a wine lover and I totally agree that Dom Perignon is one of the best champagnes I’ve had in my entire life. Awesome post!

  14. 14 Phillip Jones Sep 28th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    This is an absolutely breathtaking location. I am not overly familiar with the history of the aforementioned men or location, but I am one to enjoy a good wine every now and again. In addition to that, I love taking in beautiful scenery, even if I am not very aware of what that scenery is or what is actually represents. I will be taking some time and browsing your website in hope of learning something new about wine and wine making!

  15. 15 Molly Sanders Mar 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I’m not a wine lover but I have to say – Dom Perignon just tastes mmm mmm good! 😀 Particularly the 1996 DP Rose. Hurts the budget but still worth it. Love the photos by the way.


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