Can you drink 40 year old Dom Perignon?

Answered by Arthur Reyes

As a sommelier and brewer, I can tell you that drinking a 40-year-old Dom Perignon can be quite a special experience. However, there are several factors to consider before deciding to open that bottle.

1. Storage conditions: The quality and longevity of any , including Dom Perignon, greatly depend on how it has been stored. Proper storage involves keeping the bottle in a cool, dark, and humid environment. Ideally, the temperature should be around 55°F (13°C), with minimal fluctuations. Exposure to direct sunlight, extreme heat, or cold can negatively impact the wine's flavor and overall quality. If the bottle has been stored in less than ideal conditions, it may not have aged as well as expected.

2. Bottle condition: The condition of the bottle itself is crucial when it comes to aging wine. If the bottle has been properly stored on its side, ensuring the cork remains moist and airtight, the chances of the wine aging well are higher. However, if the cork has dried out or there are signs of leakage, the wine may have been exposed to oxygen, leading to premature aging and potential spoilage.

3. Vintage: Dom Perignon is a vintage , meaning it is made from grapes harvested in a specific year. Some vintages age better than others due to variations in weather conditions and grape quality. Before opening a 40-year-old Dom Perignon, it is essential to research the vintage and understand its aging potential. Certain vintages, known for their longevity, can still offer a delightful drinking experience even after four decades.

4. Personal preference: Taste preferences vary from person to person. Some individuals appreciate the complexity and unique characteristics that come with aging champagne, while others prefer the freshness and vibrancy of younger bottles. It is essential to consider your own taste preferences and expectations before deciding to open a 40-year-old Dom Perignon.

Personal Experience:
I had the privilege of tasting a 40-year-old Dom Perignon on a special occasion. The bottle had been impeccably stored in a wine cellar, and the condition of the cork and label was pristine. It was a vintage known for its exceptional aging potential, which made the experience even more exciting.

Upon opening the bottle, I noticed the effervescence had slightly diminished compared to a younger champagne. The color had deepened to a rich golden hue, and the aromas were incredibly complex, with notes of toasted brioche, dried fruits, and hints of honey. The taste was equally intriguing, with layers of flavors that unfolded on the palate, showcasing the wine's maturity.

While the champagne was still enjoyable and had retained some of its original freshness, it had undoubtedly evolved into an entirely different experience compared to a younger Dom Perignon. The aging process had brought forth unique characteristics that can only be achieved with time.

Whether you should drink a 40-year-old Dom Perignon depends on various factors such as storage conditions, bottle condition, vintage, and personal preference. If all these factors align favorably, the experience can be exceptional, offering a glimpse into the wine's evolution over time. However, it is crucial to approach older champagnes with an open mind and an appreciation for the nuances that come with aging.