Bottles of fine wine can age gracefully and improve with time, developing what the experts call tertiary aromas, usually at the expense of fruit. Assuming proper storage conditions, it matters little whether the cellars where this happens are located in Paris, New York or Tokyo: the outcome will be the same. Not (always) so much with Champagne, however.
Indeed the specificity of Champagne, since its origins, is that it undergoes a secondary fermentation inside the bottle.
This is what creates the fizz that once had Dom Pierre Pérignon enthusiastically exclaim “Come, I am drinking stars!” when he first tasted the sparkling wine that is now celebrated all over the world.
The yeast performing this secondary fermentation turns into lees that remain in the bottle until it is disgorged.
Then and only then is it fit to be tasted by Champagne lovers, and to be stored like any other bottle of fine wine for future enjoyment.
However what happens when a bottle is not disgorged? The lees participate in a mysterious evolution of the wine in the bottle, singular to each cuvée and carefully monitored by the Chef de Cave.
In the case of Dom Pérignon, it is a slow yet active maturation, keeping each vintage alive and bafflingly— insolently—youthful. The wine continues to evolve and be magnified.
A confounding process: wouldn’t we all like to mature yet remain young? This is the paradox of Dom Pérignon and it makes all the difference in the world.
Read more on Dom Perignon Official Blog.