- Moët & Chandon Legacy: Established in 1743, Moët & Chandon is renowned as the world’s largest and most prestigious Champagne brand, boasting a rich history and a legacy associated with French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
- The Brut Imperial Cuvée: Moët & Chandon’s Brut Imperial is their flagship non-vintage Champagne, characterized by a complex blend of over 100 wines, including reserve wines, and a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes.
- Tasting the Brilliance: The Brut Imperial offers a delightful sensory experience with its deep lemon-yellow color, complex aromas of buttery brioche, roasted hazelnut, and tropical fruits, and a palate that balances mineral dryness with creamy richness and fruity notes.
- Unexpected Depth: Despite its reputation as a widely available Champagne, the Brut Imperial surprises with its layers of flavors and aromas, showcasing the expertise behind Moët & Chandon’s winemaking process.
- Large-Scale Excellence: The ability to produce large volumes of wine has not compromised the quality of Moët & Chandon’s Brut Imperial. Instead, it allows for meticulous grape sourcing, controlled winemaking, and impeccable blending, resulting in a Champagne that captures the essence of excellence.
Moët & Chandon: A Legacy of Prestige
Moët & Chandon, established over two centuries ago in 1743 by Claude Moët, is a name synonymous with prestige and luxury. Legend has it that the sparkling wines of Moët & Chandon were the favored choice of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who even bestowed the highest French decoration, the Légion d’Honneur, upon Jean-Rémy Moët, the founder’s grandson, in the early 1800s.
Today, Moët & Chandon is part of the illustrious LVMH luxury group (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and stands as the world’s largest Champagne brand by a significant margin. The brand commands an impressive 1150 hectares of vineyards (equivalent to 2840 acres) and produces approximately 28 million bottles of Champagne annually.
The Flagship: Moët Imperial Brut
At the heart of Moët & Chandon’s offerings lies the Brut Imperial, a non-vintage cuvée that graces the shelves of wine shops worldwide. Crafted from a blend of over 100 different wines, including a portion of reserve wines aged for several years, this Champagne exemplifies the traditional trio of Champagne grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. The dosage, or added sugar, stands at a standard 9 g/liter, typical for Brut Champagnes. Remarkably, the Brut Imperial undergoes aging in bottle on its lees for 24 months, surpassing the legal minimum of 18 months.
Unraveling the Sensory Symphony: Tasting Notes
As you pour a glass of Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial, its captivating lemon-yellow hue catches the eye. Unlike paler greenish-yellow hues seen in some popular non-vintage cuvées, the Moët boasts a rich, golden appearance with hints of amber, truly inviting.
Engage your senses, and you’ll encounter a nose that is both deep and complex. It tantalizes with the aromas of buttery brioche, roasted hazelnuts, toasted bread, ripe lemon apricot, and even a touch of French toast with maple syrup, apricot jam, lemon marmalade, and a pinch of cinnamon. The bouquet is a medley of flavors, each layer offering a new dimension to explore.
On the palate, the Brut Imperial presents itself as dry with crisp acidity. Yet, its round body and harmonious fruity flavors provide a delightful sensation of sweetness. You’ll savor notes of toasted hazelnut, buttery shortbread, dried pineapple, ripe mango, and a subtle hint of white pepper. The long and layered finish even surprises with hints of fresh blueberry flavors.
The Overall Experience
Moët & Chandon’s Brut Imperial is a non-vintage Champagne that truly excels. It strikes a perfect balance between mineral dryness and the richness of creamy, tropical fruit flavors. Sipping it feels effortless, thanks to its smooth and pleasing texture. This Champagne embodies the light-hearted and airy qualities that are a hallmark of well-balanced Champagnes.
Despite its reputation as a widely available Champagne, the Brut Imperial is a revelation, offering layers of complex aromas and flavors that cater to curious palates. Each sip imparts a sense of tasting something special—a hallmark of genuine French Champagne.
A Surprise Revelation
While some may dismiss the Brut Imperial due to its ubiquity, a closer examination reveals the meticulous craftsmanship behind this Champagne. Moët & Chandon’s ability to produce on a large scale has not compromised quality. Instead, it enables selective grape sourcing, controlled winemaking, and precise blending, resulting in a Champagne that embodies the essence of excellence.
In conclusion, Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial is not merely a generic cuvée; it is a testament to the art of winemaking and the pursuit of perfection. It stands as a reminder that sometimes, in the world of Champagne, the largest and most renowned brands can still produce a wine of remarkable depth and distinction.