When King Charles VII knighted brothers Jean and Nicolas Moet in 1446, he established a lineage that would later give its name to the most beautiful saga in the history of Champagne.Back in 1743,...Read More
Founded in 1743 by an enterprising young Champenois named Claude Moet, the Moet & Chandon Champagne House has for 270 years been synonymous with moments of personal triumph and celebration. Moet is believed to have been the tipple of choice of King Louis XV’s mistress and tastemaker Marquise de Pompadour, and the bottle sabered by Napoleon Bonaparte in the company of his troops at each new military victory.
In 1967, the Champagne shower was invented when athlete Dan Gurney sprayed a Jeroboam of Moet Champagne over his guests upon winning the 24-hour Le Mans race. And the champagne pyramids so popular at weddings and New Year’s parties? Those were also born with Moet & Chandon. This legacy of glamor, glory and success is intrinsically interwoven with the House’s signature style: the boldness, elegance and generosity of its globally beloved champagnes. These are wines with a certain star quality and charisma, guaranteed to make any festivity even more memorable.
The history of the Moet and Chandon House of Champagne dates back to 1743, when it was first established under the name Moet et Cie (a.k.a. Moet & Co) by a Champenois wine trader named Claude Moët. Originally from Epernay, Claude Moet recognized the potential for his wines and began shipping them to Paris, where a demand for sparkling wines had been growing significantly due to the preferences of King Louis XV. By the time Claude’s son Claude-Louis Moet joined the family business, the estate’s wine had become quite popular across the noble and aristocratic classes. The reputation of Moet Champagne as a glamorous product associated with moments of triumph and celebration was born. By the end of the 18th century, Moet Champagne was the favorite tipple of the greatest figures of the era, among them the influential tastemaker Marquise de Pompadour and Napoleon.
Claude-Louis Moet left the House to his son Jean-Remy Moët who took on Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles as a partner, and the company was renamed Moet et Chandon in 1833. Jean-Remy Moet is credited with being the first to expand the estate’s champagnes to an international market. In 1842, the company adopted the concept of vintage champagnes, producing its very own for the first time in the 1842 vintage. The Moet and Chandon Imperial bottling was introduced in 1869, followed by the company’s most prestigious label, Dom Perignon. The wildly popular Moet Rose (named the Imperial Rose) was first created in 1996.
In 1971, Moët Chandon merged with the Hennessy Cognac House, and the trio was joined by Louis Vuitton in 1987. Today, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) is the largest luxury group in the world, adding new brands to their portfolio each year. Over the past few decades, Moet and Chandon has pioneered creative new trends in champagne packaging, producing Moet Imperial bottles encrusted with Swarovski crystals and introducing the Moet Ice Imperial, the very first champagne designed to be enjoyed on ice.
The name Moët has been synonymous with celebration for the past 270 years of the House’s history. One of the earliest “Moet brand ambassadors” was Napoleon Bonaparte, who is said to have visited the Epernay estate on numerous occasions and awarded Jean-Remy Moet with the medal of the Legion d’Honneur. It is actually Napoleon who is believed to have invented the tradition of sabering a bottle of champagne (probably a bottle of Moet champagne) to celebrate victory in the company of his troops. In fact, the General inspired the name of the house’s flagship wine, the Moet Chandon Imperial. In this time, champagne was also the elixir of choice chosen to christen ships for good luck before their maiden voyage.
In 1967, another champagne tradition was born and accredited to Moet & Chandon. When Dan Gurney, winner of the 24-hour Le Mans race was handed a Jeroboam of Moet & Chandon Champagne, the athlete sprayed the contents of the bottle over the guests present. This established Moet Chandon as the champagne of champions, used to celebrate moments of triumph and joy.
Finally, the tradition of the champagne pyramid, whereby champagne is poured over several levels of coupe glasses arranged into a pyramid shape, was also believed to have been created by Moet Chandon.
The Moet & Chandon House of Champagne today reigns over 2,840 acres of vineyards in the Champagne region of France. Of these vineyards, a stunning 50% are Grands Crus and 25% are Premiers Crus, with the estate spread out between the five main areas of Champagne: Montagne de Reims, Cote des Blancs, Vallee de la Marne, Sezanne and Aube. In fact, the Moet vineyards include roughly 200 of the 323 total crus of Champagne, including 17 Grands Crus and 32 Premiers Crus.
The vineyards enjoy a climate that ranges between oceanic and continental. The vines are planted in a soil composed principally of limestone with plenty of chalk. The entire vineyard is certified for sustainable viticulture since 2014. The vineyards are treated with only environmentally friendly products in order to preserve the quality of the soils for future generations.
All three grape varieties of Champagne are planted here. Pinot Noir contributes body, intensity and structure to Moet Champagne, along with notes of red berries. Pinot Meunier adds a certain suppleness, roundness and aromas of white stone fruits. Meanwhile, Chardonnay lends the blend its signature elegance, its fresh acidity and aromas of citrus and white florals. It is by blending these three grape varieties from many different vintages and from a vast array of plots that Moet et Chandon achieves complexity in their signature champagnes.
Following a harvest conducted 100% by hand, the fruit arrives to the winery. Perhaps the most crucial step of the winemaking is the blending process, which requires extreme diligence and remarkable savoir-faire on the part of the winemaking team. This particularly important step is carried out by Benoît Gouez, Moet Chandon Chef de Caves since 2005 and Moet & Chandon Oenologists Marie Christine Osselin and Amine Ghanem.
Following alcoholic fermentation in vats, the wines are filled into bottles, which are stacked horizontally and stored in Moet Chandon’s 28 kilometers of underground caves. These century-old cellars underneath the town of Epernay remain at a consistent temperature between 10-12°C. The secondary fermentation begins in bottle, creating carbon dioxide that gets trapped as bubbles in the liquid. The dead yeasts cells, named lees, remain in contact with the wine, imparting a creamy mouthfeel and aromas of pastry to the latter.
In preparation for disgorgement, the bottles are riddled by automatic gyropalettes, although some prestige champagnes are riddled by hand. Finally, the bottles are disgorged by hand and a dosage is added.
Moet Champagne can easily be recognized by its distinctive style, which combines a bright fruitiness with a seductive, smooth palate and the elegant maturity of its bouquet.
The Moet and Chandon Imperial is the flagship champagne of the House, made from blending over 100 different base wines, of which 20-30% are reserve wines. This non-vintage Brut champagne includes 30-40% Pinot Noir, 30-40% Pinot Meunier and 20-30% Chardonnay in its blend. It is dosed with 7 grams of sugar per liter. The resulting champagne displays a golden straw yellow color in the glass, and a vibrant bouquet of green apple and citrus, white flowers, brioche and nuts. The palate is generous, offering rich flavors of pears, white peaches and apples, along with citrus nuances on a long, lingering finish. The Moet Imperial will pair beautifully with your favorite sushi, sashimi and fish carpaccio, along with oysters, sea urchins and roasted chicken.
The Moet Rose Imperial is a spontaneous and energetic expression of the Moet Chandon style, made from 40-50% Pinot Noir, 30-40% Pinot Meunier and 10-20% Chardonnay. This rosé champagne is made with 20-30% reserve wines and dosed with 7 grams of sugar per liter. A pretty pink and amber color in the glass, the Moet Rose reveals a lively bouquet of red fruit aromas (raspberries, strawberries and cherries), along with fragrances of rose and hints of black pepper. The palate is fleshy and firm, revealing subtle touches of menthol. Pair the Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial with a shellfish bisque, red mullet or ratatouille. It will also go nicely with raw or rare meat dishes, like a tartar or lightly grilled flank steak.