Moët & Chandon is one of Champagne’s oldest Grandes Marques. Established in 1743 by Claude Moët, today the House of Moët has extensive vineyard holdings in Épernay and throughout Champagne, producing over 30 million bottles annually. It is the largest-selling Champagne brand in the United States and is distributed to more than 150 countries worldwide. Until recently the White Star line was its most popular champagnes, but it has been replaced by new the fine-tuned, non-vintage Brut Imperial and Grand Vintage Champagnes reviewed here. Moët & Chandon Champagnes are produced under the direction of the talented Benoît Gouez, Chef de Cave, and his team, including winemaker Marc Brevot. We recently sat down with Marc to taste through the US portfolio of Moët & Chandon.
These Champagnes are blends of the grape trio Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The Brut Imperial is a very approachable Champagne that is light and fresh-tasting. With age it generally takes on more toasted qualities and added complexity. The Grand Vintage Champagnes are aged on the lees for seven years, reveal more complex aromas and flavors, and have a richer texture with more volume and delicacy.
Tasting Notes and Ratings
Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial NV Épernay ($45) 90
The Brut Imperial is Moët & Chandon’s flagship wine. A blend of Pinot Noir (45% to 50%), Pinot Meunier (35%-40%) and Chardonnay 10%-15%), it exhibits fresh orchard fruit and toasted aromas on the nose with a lively rich mousse in the glass. It has rich, yeast flavors on the palate with good texture, volume and balance. At 13 g/l RS, it’s made a bit sweeter for the American palate.
Moët & Chandon NV Rosé Imperial Épernay ($45) 90
The medium-light salmon colored Rosé Imperial shows dried red berry aromas. Smooth and creamy on the palate, it combines 40-50% Pinot, 30-40% Pinot Meunier and 10-20% Chardonnay of which about 30% is reserve wine. It is highly accessible with a round texture, simple red berry and cinnamon spice flavors, and a long dry finish. RS 9 g/l.
Moët & Chandon 2002 Grand Vintage Blanc Épernay ($55) 92
The 2002 Vintage is a blend of 51% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Noir, and 23% Pinot Meunier. Produced from an exceptional vintage and having spent seven years on the lees, it exhibits rich toasted aromas with hints of grilled fruit, vanilla, hazelnuts and mocha. On the palate it is rich and creamy with volume, complexity and balance.
Moët & Chandon 2002 Grand Vintage Rosé Épernay ($45) 91+
Brilliant salmon in color, the 2002 Grand Vintage Rosé spends seven years on the lees. It is complex, showing red berry and dreid cherry aromas with a slight herbal character along with oriental spices and licorice. It is refined, delicate, and creamy on the palate combining 51% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay and 21% Pinot Meunier. While not as lively as the regular Grand Vintage, it has lovely flavors and richness on the finish.
Moët & Chandon 1992 Grand Vintage Collection Épernay ($130) 94+
This yellow-gold 1992 Grand Vintage is a rich and powerful wine that offers a complex nose and flavors of brioche, crème brulee, and candied stone fruit with prominent autolytic notes. It shows remarkable depth of flavor with a creamy mouth feel along with freshness and harmony from beginning to finish. A blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier with RS of 7.5 g/l. This wine was first released ten years ago and is just now being rereleased.
See the International Wine Review Report # 9 Champagne for more detailed discussion of Champagne, its styles and how it’s made.
Moët-Hennessy (www.mhusa.com) is the US importer of these fine Champagnes.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler