Champagne is a classic alcoholic beverage for celebrations like weddings and graduation parties. The sparkling wine has several criteria that producers are required to meet to classify the wine as champagne.
It must be produced in the Champagne region of France and the grapes need to be hand-picked from select areas. There are additional grape-pressing techniques and secondary fermentation that are required to seek this classification.
Among the high-end champagne, brands are Dom Pérignon and Cristal. We are going to pit Dom Perignon vs Cristal champagne to determine which would be a better option for you for your next celebration.
Dom Perignon vs Cristal Champagne
Dom Pérignon is a brand of Champagne owned by the LVMH company (Louis-Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy) and was established in 1921. Although they had been established 15 years prior, the first sale of Dom Pérignon was only in 1936.
This is due to the brand’s philosophy of never releasing champagne that had not been aged at least 9 years. Some years, due to this philosophy, the brand will not release any vintage making it a scarcer and more ‘prestigious’ option.
The name of the brand pays homage to a Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, who was a pioneer of modern Champagne production but did not, contrary to opinion, discover the method of producing Champagne.
He did, however, discover a way to blend grapes to improve the wine quality and are of producing a white wine from red grapes.
Cristal is the premier brand under the company Louis Roederer and was established in 1876. The champagne was made for Alexander II who, at the time, was the tsar of Russia.
Louis Roederer (the original) used to ship a third of his champagne to Russia where the nobility’s interest in the beverage was slowly increasing with time.
In the 1920s, the champagne house began focusing on creating a balanced wine with a consistent blend of several vintage champagnes.
This was to ensure the champagne would be of the highest quality, year after year.
How Are They Made?
The production of champagne involves several specific and time-consuming steps that are necessary to produce high-quality and enjoyable beverages.
Harvesting of the grapes tends to be done between August and October, with the grapes being hand-picked. These grapes are then pressed to release the juices and keep the juices clear white.
From there the first fermentation takes place which results in an acidic wine that has had the natural sugars converted to alcohol. The wine is then combined with several reserve wines (selected by the champagne house in question) and tends to be done in early spring. Once this step has been completed, the second fermentation occurs.
This is the step that creates the signature bubbles in champagne. Yeast and sugar are mixed with yeast nutrients and added to the wine. Bottles are placed in a cool cellar to slowly ferment which produces the alcohol content and carbon dioxide in the wine.
Once the yeast cells die, the wine continues to age for several years (with the common length being approximately 4 to 10 years) after which the beverage is riddled. Bottles are placed at an angle and slowly rotated at 45° allowing the yeast cells to move to the next of the bottle.
This is the process in which the tops of the bottles are frozen and placed upside down. Once it has frozen, the yeast plug is removed and the bottles are placed back in the cellar, upside down.
Finally, white wine, sugar, and brandy are added to adjust the sweetness of the wine which is dependent on the classification of the Champagne as a Brut, Extra Brut, Extra Dry, and so forth. The bottle is corked to secure the pressure within the bottle.
What Are They Made of?
Dom Pérignon uses Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in the composition of their blend. The final composition can differ with the 1969 vintage containing 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay while 1982 has 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot noir.
The composition has only ever contained more than 65% Chardonnay once in the 1970 vintage. Generally, the brand tends to keep the composition less than 60% of either grape.
Cristal is typically made with the same recipe each time, with a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir grapes. Cristal only releases vintage Champagnes and ages their champagne for 6 years.
How Are They Similar?
Both brands use the same grapes as their base ingredients, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Similarly, both champagnes are produced using a similar composition (depending on the vintage from Dom Pérignon) of a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir.
However, Dom Pérignon does at times create blends that contain more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Another difference between the champagne brands is the length of aging.
Cristal ages its champagnes for a period of 6 years in a cellar, while Dom Pérignon is aged for a period of 7 to 10 years.
The brand aims to release champagnes that have been aged for 9 years minimum which is why there are years that it does not release a vintage.
Direct Comparison of Dom Perignon vs Cristal Champagne
|Raw Materials||Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes||Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes|
|Alcohol by Volume (ABV)||12,5% (25 proof)||12% – 13%|
|Taste||Honey, Smoke, Biscuits, and Citrus||White fruit, citrus notes, light taste of minerals|
|Average Price (1 liter)||$336 (excluding tax)||$335 (excluding tax)|
These champagne brands are easy to compare as they use the same grapes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and have similar price points.
Dom Pérignon does offer more vintages than Cristal (and by default, Louis Roederer), however, there is sure to be an option among the two brands for you to select from.
Dom Pérignon Champagne List
|Item||Average Price||Volume per Bottle|
|Dom Pérignon||$200||750 ml|
|Dom Pérignon Rosé||$350||750 ml|
|Dom Pérignon P2||$400||750 ml|
Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne
|Champagne||Bottle Year||Average Price|
There is an expectation that the older the vintage, the more it will cost. This can be true in some instances however, as you can see this does not always hold with Dom Pérignon.
Overall the prices do increase with age but the 1992 bottle has a price of $280 while the 1993 bottle has a price of $320 showing the flaw in this assumption.
Cristal Champagne List
|Item||Average Price||Volume per Bottle|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé||$520||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne||$240||750 ml|
The two main champagne offerings from Cristal are the Rosé and the original Champagne. These are both sold in 750-milliliter bottles at an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof) and 12% (26 proof) respectively.
Other Offerings by Louis Roederer
|Item||Average Price||Volume per Bottle|
|Louis Roederer Rosé Vintage||$70||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Carte Blanche||$50||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Brut Nature 2009||$80||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Brut Premier||$50||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Brut Nature 2006||$80||750 ml|
How To Drink Dom Pérignon and Cristal Champagne
Both Dom Pérignon and Cristal champagne are high-quality beverages with fine bubbles and soft palates. For this reason, you will very rarely find either champagne mixed with anything else or poured over ice.
Rather, they should be cooled down to 46° and 50° Fahrenheit (8° and 10° Celsius) which will leave a refreshingly cool taste. Pour the champagne at a 45° angle into a champagne flute. This will prevent the champagne from overflowing in the glass as the carbon dioxide produces more bubbles.
Many people enjoy popping a champagne bottle and allowing the cork to shoot away. However, this can lead to the bottle depressurizing too quickly which will cause some of the liquid to flow out of the bottle leading to wasted champagne.
Rather, the bottle should be turned slowly with a firm hand over the cork. This will allow you to control the cork and slowly depressurize the bottle preventing any waste.
To add a fun twist to the champagne, fruit pieces can be added to it. These will lightly flavor the champagne (if the fruit has been cut) and will soak up some of the alcohol to leave a delightful treat after your beverage is done.
Common options are pomegranate seeds, cherries, cranberries, or raspberries which will leave a slightly sweet taste in the beverage.
Veuve Clicquot has a Yellow Label Brut which is made primarily of Pinot Noir (consisting of 50% of the blend), along with 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. The champagne is aged for a period of 30 to 34 months and is sold at an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof). A bottle of Veuve champagne can be bought for $46.
Nicholas Feuillatte’s Brut Reserve has a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier, and 25% Chardonnay which is aged for a period of 25 to 38 months. A bottle of this champagne can be bought for an average of $29 with an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof). This champagne is among the most affordable on the list and is a cheaper option than Dom Pérignon.
G.H. Mumm is a brand of Champagne that uses an approximate blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 25% Pinot Meunier in creating their champagne. It is aged for a period of 23 and 26 months. a bottle of this champagne can be bought for $35 at an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof).
Finally, Laurent-Perrier’s Brut is a 50% blended champagne that utilizes 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier in the blend of their beverage. It is aged for more than 43 months and can be purchased for $44. The alcohol of the average champagne is 12% (24 proof).
Frequently Asked Questions
Which came first?
Dom Perignon was established in 1921 while Cristal was established in 1876 meaning Cristal came first.
Which is stronger?
Dom Pérignon has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12,5% (25 proof) while Cristal has an ABV of 12% – 13% (24 – 26 proof) so, depending on the champagne, Cristal could be either stronger or weaker than Dom Pérignon.
Which is the most popular?
According to the Luxury Institute, Dom Pérignon is more prestigious than Cristal, making it the more popular choice with those willing to spend more on Champagne.