22.11.12

Moët & Chandon Impérial - When Was The Last Time You Tried It?

Press Release

Moët Impérial - When Was The Last Time You Tasted It?

"... there has been a noticeable stylistic shift in this Champagne over recent years, but who could have imagined that this 20 million-bottle cuvée has such richness and pronounced acidity?  The sheer size of Moët sets it apart from every other Champagne house, but whereas for others that makes it such an easy target for negative jibes, for me it makes the quality all the more fantastic." Tom Stevenson, World of Fine Wine, September 2012

The message is slowly filtering through - Moët & Chandon has changed.   "We're still the largest estate, but in this case big is beautiful," claims Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez.  "Grape supply is our most important asset.  We're fortunate to own 1,250 hectares in 61 different villages in Champagne - half Grands Crus, and a further quarter Premiers Crus - plus we also buy from selected growers.  Overall we cover 75% of the villages in Champagne (234 crus out of 319), including all the Grands Crus and 70% of the Premiers Crus, which gives us the advantage of diversity," he concludes.

Gouez joined Moët & Chandon in 1998, following sparkling winemaking stints in California, Australia and New Zealand.  He was appointed Chef de Cave in 2005 and adopted what he describes as "more of a contemporary approach" from the outset.  "I don't believe in tradition for tradition's sake - we should constantly be challenging convention in order to make the best possible Champagne," he states.

Since Gouez took over as Chef de Cave, the dosage of the Impérial has dropped to 9g/l and the wine is aged for 24 months in the cellars (the minimum legal period is 12 months), and a further 3 months plus in bottle post disgorgement.

Blended from over 100 different wines, of which 20-30% are 1-3 year old reserve wines, the Impérial is a balance of the three different Champagne grape varieties - Pinot Noir 30-40%, Pinot Meunier 30-40% and Chardonnay 20-30%.  There is no set recipe - the assemblage changes each year and is decided by Gouez, who incidentally does not believe Pinot Meunier to be a lesser grape.  "It's a Pinot Noir, but without tannins," he explains.   "When worked properly, it gives a white flesh fruitiness that, at Moët, provides the link between the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay."

Moët & Chandon Impérial NV is available from Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's at RRP £31.99.

For further information: Ali / 020 8747 9592