The legend says that Champagne was created by Dom Perignon. BlogWines will tell you the truth…
Who was Dom Perignon?
Dom Perignon was a French benedict monk (1638-1715). He was in charge of Abbey cellars in Hautvillers (close to Reims, France). One of the main activities of this abbey was to exploit a vineyard and its wine production.
But what did Dom Perignon do for Champagne industry?
Dom Perignon wines were very famous for their quality. But these last were still, as the main champagne production at this time. Neither Dom Perignon nor immediate successors made any allusion about any effervescence in the wines.
Dom Perignon did not create Champagne but he worked to improve the quality and renown of the still wines of Champagne. He worked to prevent a secondary fermentation which was seen as a fault and most likely to be break the wine bottles.
Furthermore the real genius of Dom Perignon (and still inspiring today), it was also his science to assemble the best grapes of the different grape varieties, which brought the Abbey bottles to royal tables and ensured his excellence reputation.
The last point but not the least: Dom Perignon died in 1715 and the royal authorisation to bottle the champagne was only given in 1728. However, it is totally impossible to get a sparkling wine without a solid bottle and a resistant cork. Hence Dom Perignon could have not created the sparkling wine. However, this kind of wines had existed in England since 1660 at least as the industrial bottle was created in 1625. Actually few English negociants bottled Champagne wine which were received in barrel. They added a bit of sugar, triggering off the fermentation continuation.
Thus where does this myth come from?
The reasons of the genesis of this myth are just commercial. Abbey of Hautvillers is now held by Mercier, which is now part of Moët & Chandon. The myth was born when the special vintage “Dom Perignon” was created by Moët & Chandon.