Moët & ChandonBrowsing
Based in its imposing building in Epernay, at the very beginning of the beautiful Avenue de Champagne, Moët & Chandon is the world’s largest champagne producers and the most prominent house. It is part of the luxury group LVMH and firmly stands as the market leader anywhere champagne is found. Moët & Chandon perfectly incarnates what champagne was and is, and a visit to their impressive cellars is the best introduction to the champagne world.
In 1446, King Charles VII made Jean and Nicolas Moët nobles. One of the descendants, Claude Moët, who had been a wine trader in Epernay since the early 18th century, founded his Champagne houses in 1743.
His grandson, Jean Rémy Moët transformed the business and brought both his wine and champagne to international prominence, with clients among nobles and aristocrats in France and Europe. This success was also helped by its friendship with Napoleon who stopped to visit him in Epernay several times on his way to the battlefields.
In 1832, when Jean-Rémy retired, he left the company in the hands of his son Victor Moët, and son-in-law Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles. The house’s name was officially changed that same year to Moët & Chandon.
In 1869, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Napoleon, the houses created Moët Imperial, which has become the best-selling champagne in the world.
Moët & Chandon merged with Hennessy Cognac in 1971 and with Louis Vuitton in 1987 to become LVMH (Louis-Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy).
Today, Moët & Chandon is the largest Champagne house and one of the very few to hold the Royal Warrant to supply Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Vineyard and Production
The house owns the largest vineyard of Champagne with 1,200 ha of which 50% in grands crus and 25% in premiers crus. However, given its huge production estimated at more than 25 million bottles per year, the house relies on other grape suppliers throughout the region, using approximately 250 of the 319 available crus and more than 800 base wines each year. This requires a tasting committee of 10 enologists, coordinated by Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez. Winemaking is by the book, with the use of all the three champagne grapes from all over Champagne, fermentation and full MLF in stainless steel vats, and standard adequate aging of about 2-3 years for the non-vintages.
Moët champagnes are of quality and consistency, in huge volumes, which is impressive. It is a pity that some wine drinkers still think that these are industrial products not worth their price. It shows that prejudices about champagne being a wine of image rather than substance, remain. In reality, these champagnes are crafted very carefully, using the most modern tools, and are always flawless and very pleasant, marked by fruits, a certain maturity, and a seductive smoky nose particularly evident in the vintages cuvées. They are purposely accessible and uncomplicated to satisfy the most diverse palates around the globe.
The champagne range is traditional, with brut and rosé available in non-vintage and vintage, and demi-sec non-vintage, also available in rosé and a slightly lower dosage version specific for cocktails. Brut Impérial is a solid BSA that I drink regularly as I easily find it anywhere I am, and it always does the job. But my favorites are their vintage champagnes with more personality. In 2015, they launched their prestige cuvée, MCIII, a super champagne, for its unique production method, and breath-taking price. They also produce Marc de Champagne.