2003 Dom Perignon as Birth Year Wine

What say you? I have not tasted it, but the CT reviews are generally positive.

Obviously as a birth-year wine I’d be looking to drink it (or serve it) no sooner than 2020 or so.

Don’t really like it. Quite ripe and forward, not really my style. Would worry on long term cellar potential.

Had it twice, but the first time was with a large group of people, and the general consensus was the same. One bottle was left untouched.

I’m waiting for mags and then buying some as we were married in 03.

I had a bottle a week or two ago, and quite enjoyed it, even given its youth. I was surprised, because I hadn’t really thought that highly of the vintage as a whole. I spaced writing a note on it, but from memory it was a little heavier, not as light on its feet as other DP vintages I’ve had. But for me it was more a matter of “this is a touch different” rather than “this isn’t good”. While the DP is enjoyable now, it seemed to me to have the makings of an age-worthy Champagne. Long term? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t have any concerns seeing this go to 2020, or a few years beyond. Past that, I don’t have enough experience to judge. Perhaps Brad Baker can weigh in.

2003 was a solar vintage the summer was the hottest for years !!! Acidity levels were low, but the key was to focus on freshness, which could be reached through minerality as well as vibrancy of the fruitiness.

I’m curious, tomorrow I will taste the 2003 along with some other DP’s ;

2003 Dom Pérignon.
2002 Dom Pérignon.
1980 Dom Pérignon.
1996 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque.
1990 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque.
2000 Dom Pérignon Rosé.
1990 Dom Pérignon Rosé Oenothèque.

BTW.- I try to make some notes on this tasting here …


I’d be very interested in your notes, please post!

I like the 2003 DP. It isn’t a classic or great DP, but it is a good one and it overachieves for the vintage. It is low in acidity, but there is more to Champagne than just acidity. DP did a great job working with the phenolics of the wine to give it some “spine and structure”. I do think it will surprise people in how well it will age. I’m a bigger fan and believer in the 2003 vintage than most and I think the best wines will do well over time. Their are certainly bad, boring, and/or overblown 2003 Champagnes, but you have to remember that the yield was small and if you took the best of your best and thought outside the box, you could do good things. 2003 DP is a textbook case of this.

While not a completely accurate comparison, 1976 and 1999 are probably the most recent vintages that have similar characteristics to 2003. Going back further, 1947 and 1959 are even more similar, though 2003 will always stand out for being lower acid than any of these. Still 1947, 1959, and 1976 are all top notch vintages that show you can succeed with low acidity.

We had a couple of bottles a few weeks ago at a NY wine bar, along side a couple bottles of 05 Cristal. Three couples. Two of us (guys) really liked it, the other four were neutral. I liked the Dom typicity, the openness, the concentration. Time will tell, but I immediately bought more. And for DP, the price is right.

Thanks Brad for the comparison to 99. I quite like that wine, although it does not approach the “great” DP vintages. Recall when Costco dumped those gift baskets containing the 1999 for $50? Yeah, I have a few left.

Glad that people like the '03, but for mine compared top the '02, they are about 10pts apart…

A good effort for the vintage perhaps, but not a great champagne.

The OP asked about it as a birth year wine. If the goal is to age in for someone’s 21st birthday, my response is no.by then the fruit will be long gone.

Good point Bob, was thinking that myself (that we didn’t answer the actual question). I’m inclined to think the 03 will be long lived, not short. Interestingly, and while its only a single data point, Antonio Galloni shows the drinking window as 2016-2038.

The 2003 DP will age. You can drink it now or in twenty years and likely beyond. For longer aging, I would go with Magnums, but nothing wrong with 750s. Remember, the first round of Oenos are likely to come in 5-8 years too and that should be interesting as 2003 is a vintage that I think does very well with longer lees aging.

I guess it depends on how you like your champagnes. I find older ones lacking in fruit and a bit oxidized. Doesn’t work for me. The Brits, and others, love them.


I won’t argue with you that aged Champagne is quite a different animal from young Champagne. I just want to make sure that folks don’t associate the “don’t age it” comment specifically with the 2003 DP as 2003 has been tagged a bit carelessly amongst Champagne folks as a vintage where no wines will age. In general, I like aged Champagne, but for those who like it fresh then absolutely don’t age it and enjoy its splendor now. It is a bottle that is far to easy to drink all on your own - before you know it, it is gone.

If I were to put any 2003 wines away long term, it would be Vintage Port first, then probably daylight…

Some red Burgs may turn out ok, but from what I have I have, I have serious doubts. I wouldn’t put any champage away either.

Just my 2c.

Buying wine for a birth year is more about what you want to drink in celebration of birthdays, wedding anniversaries, graduations, and if any is left, hopefully the grateful child will use in grand fashion like you wish. It is not as much about the child as about the celebration of your family and it’s milestones. Watch these wines grow as your child grows and learn that we can’t totally control our children or our wine aging beautifully. If you lost it all in the Sandy Hurricane few tears would be shed! Mike

This is a useful way to think about it - thanks. I suppose the question is if one were to spend $100+ on a bottle, would this be it? Other than for the birth year, perhaps not. It has its merits in the view of some, but compared to other bottles in similar price ranges from different vintages, perhaps it comes up short.

You were born in 2003? [snort.gif]

If I were selecting a 2003 birth year wine for someone, this wouldn’t be one of them. It MIGHT be fine in 2020+, but I think it’s a little bit risky compared to other vintages.


I agree with M. I bought a bottle for my daughter, born in 2003, simply because it is Dom Perignon and she is a girl. I have no idea how good it will be, but I thought it would be nice to add a bottle of a well-known champagne to the case of 2003 wine that I will give to her when she is a woman. It is more about celebrating her (2003 birth) than the wine. I also think she may appreciate champagne more than the Sagrantino di Montefalco I bought for her.