In 2015, journalist Melissa Chang was invited to a private wine tasting party built around unique Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon food pairings. Each dish was designed specifically to complement a particular Dom Pérignon wine. The classic 2004 Dom Pérignon was served with bacon jam biscuits. A bottle of 1998 Dom Pérignon P2 was paired with smoked king salmon. The night wrapped up with glasses of 2003 Dom Pérignon Rosé followed by a sweet tofu dessert.
Chang said the tasting reminded her just how versatile Dom Pérignon and other fine Champagne can be. She says, “Champagne is like a little black dress—it goes with everything.” Still, some Dom Pérignon food pairings are more delectable than others. You can certainly pair this wine with many different kinds of foods, but to put together a truly special pairing, you’ll want to take into account the wine’s age, its style, and the occasion you’re celebrating. This guide will show you how to create the ideal pairing for all the bottles in your collection.
Dom Pérignon Food Pairings: The Basics
When Moët & Chandon makes a Dom Pérignon vintage, the head winemaker releases the wine in three stages (called plénitudes). The first batch of wine is labeled Vintage; the second is labeled P2, for Plénitude 2; the third is labeled P3, for Plénitude 3. Each stage has its own unique flavor profile, although they all follow the Moët & Chandon house style:
- Dom Pérignon Vintage: These wines are aged on the lees for seven to eight years. They are very bubbly and often quite acidic, with strong minerality.
- Dom Pérignon P2 (formerly called Oenothèque): These wines are released after spending between 12 and 15 years on the lees. The extended aging gives them more richness and aroma. They may even develop some smoky or spicy notes.
- Dom Pérignon P3 (formerly called Oenothèque): These dense wines have spent at least 20 years on the lees. Over time they develop rich, powerful fruit flavors and the bubbles become less perceptible.
Like any quality vintage Champagne, Dom Pérignon gets richer and more complex with more time on the lees and also develops more mature, nutty flavors. Generally, the lightest, most bubbly Dom Pérignon is a young vintage wine, while the richest, least bubbly Dom Pérignon is a decades-old P3 bottle.
The wine’s style also has an impact on its flavor. Moët & Chandon makes two styles of Dom Pérignon, both of which can be released as Vintage, P2, or P3:
- White Dom Pérignon: Made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this style tastes like apple and citrus, with strong minerality.
- Dom Pérignon Rosé: This style of Dom Pérignon is made primarily from Pinot Noir. Its flavors include red fruit and cream with floral aromatics, especially rose.
Now that you can identify the differences in flavor between each style and stage of Dom Pérignon, you’re better prepared to pick foods that perfectly match each wine.
The Best Savory Dom Pérignon Food Pairings
Champagne and salty foods go hand in hand. That’s because salt and fat tend to coat the palate, while Champagne bubbles help break these flavors up. The acidity and bubbles in the wine lighten the flavors of heavily-seasoned savory foods like salted crackers and chips, creamy dips, and rich, oily fish. Moët & Chandon cellarmaster Benoit Gouez says, “If you want to fine-tune a match with Champagne, you have to play with salt.” He adds that foods with a lot of texture, like crunchy chips or tiny beads of caviar, mimic the wine’s bubbly nature and can make the drinking experience more enjoyable.
Keep in mind that the rosé is creamier and often more fruit-forward than the white blend.
All Champagne pairs well with a wide range of savory foods. However, if you’re looking for savory foods that complement Dom Pérignon specifically, then it’s worth taking a more detailed look at the flavor profile of each type of Dom Pérignon:
- Dom Pérignon Vintage pairs best with crispy foods that are high in fat content or are heavily-seasoned. The citrus flavors in the wine make these dishes feel lighter on the palate and the ample bubbles match these foods’ crunchy textures. Avoid savory foods that are acidic or bitter, like vinegarette dressing or dark leafy greens.
- Dom Pérignon P2 pairs best with smoked foods or slightly spicy dishes, like a mild curry. The smokiness and spice in the wine will complement these complex flavors. Avoid foods that are very spicy, as this can overpower the wine.
- Dom Pérignon P3 often pairs best with desserts because it’s so rich; however, fatty, savory foods like pork and salmon also pair well with P3 vintages. The bubbles are less prominent in these wines, so choose softer, less textured foods. Crunchy dishes can also be distracting, making it harder to taste the more subtle flavors that come with extensive aging.
Because both white and rosé Dom Pérignon are made from blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, they pair well with many of the same savory foods. However, keep in mind that the rosé is creamier and often more fruit-forward than the white blend. For this reason, it goes especially well with creamy, spreadable foods like hummus, brie, and foie gras. It can also be paired with a variety of vegetables because the sweet red fruit notes are an excellent foil to slightly bitter greens.
The Best Sweet Dom Pérignon Food Pairings
It’s not hard to find a delicious savory Dom Pérignon pairing, but it’s a little more difficult to come up with the perfect sweet Dom Pérignon food pairing. That’s because, while Dom Pérignon’s richness and creaminess sometimes give the impression of sweetness, the wine has a lot of acidity and bright citrus flavors. For instance, you may want to pair the 2009 Dom Pérignon with a very sweet dulce de leche, but against the very sweet dessert, the citrus notes and high acidity of the wine would likely make it taste astringent. A citrus-based dessert or one that’s less sweet would be a better match.
Vintage Dom Pérignon is a good choice to serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
In general, the younger the vintage is (both in terms of bottle age and plénitude stage), the less sugary the dessert should be. For example, vintage Dom Pérignon is a good choice to serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream. An older P2 or P3 bottle like 1971 Dom Pérignon P3 would pair better with a slightly richer, sweeter dessert, like crème brûlée. And finally, if you have a bottle of Dom Pérignon rosé like the 2005, consider pairing it with berry-based desserts with a high fat content, like a slightly tart raspberry ice cream. The red fruit in the wine will match the fruit in the dessert, while the wine’s creaminess is emphasized when paired with an equally creamy dish.
How to Choose the Right Dom Pérignon Vintage for the Occasion
Because the flavor and aroma characteristics of Dom Pérignon vary depending on vintage, plénitude, style, and age, it’s usually easiest to pick the wine you plan on serving first and then design a food pairing around it. To do this, think about what type of tasting experience you’d like to host. Are you interested in a casual gathering to drink Champagne with friends or are you planning to host a more formal event, like a blind wine tasting party, around the bottles in your collection? If it’s a casual event, younger vintage bottles like the 2009 or 2004 are a good choice because they pair perfectly with crispy, salty snack foods that don’t need any preparation. If it’s a more formal occasion and you have plenty of time to plan and execute a menu, then you might choose older wines like 1996 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque. This Champagne goes well with heartier, more elaborate dishes because it’s richer and more complex than a Dom Pérignon vintage wine. It’s also a delicious older vintage that many wine enthusiasts will not have had the opportunity to taste before.
Whether you’re hosting a casual or a formal event, you can find a perfect Moët & Chandon Champagne for your celebration. By following these Dom Pérignon food pairing guidelines, you’ll showcase these iconic wines at their absolute best.
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