Since Moët & Chandon first began grape growing and winemaking 280 years ago this year, the Maison has grown to become one of the major players in the world of wine and Champagne.
As the leader in the Champagne region and owner of the largest estates across Premier and Grand Cru, Moët & Chandon honours its responsibility to give back to nature and work with its communities to regenerate the soils and nurture local flora and fauna. The all-important handling of fruit is at the centre of fine Champagne, and it is the role of the Chef de Cave to manage and blend the wines for style, ageing and release.
‘Champagne is all about sharing’
Benoît Gouez joined the Moët & Chandon team in 1998, becoming Chef de Cave in 2005. “Champagne is all about sharing, it’s a rich, passion-filled world, to highlight and sublimate the special characteristics of the grape varieties grown in the Champagne region,” says Gouez.
Vintage releases of Champagne are a statement not only of the year and finest of harvests, but they are also a statement of rarity, opportunity and history.
The Tale of Light Trilogy
This year an opportunity exists for those with an appreciation for Moët & Chandon and fine Champagne to engage in The Tale of Light Trilogy release including the Grand Vintage 2015, Grand Vintage Collection 2006 and Grand Vintage Collection 1999.
These wines “reflect the impact of different maturation periods” – seven, 15, and 21 years respectively, chosen by Cellar Master Gouez to narrate the story of the passage of time.
The 2015 harvest is characterised by ripeness and enveloping quality, derived from grape varieties at quality levels with the selections meeting the exigencies of a Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage.
Harvest 2015 traversed a clement winter, a warm spring, and the dazzlingly bright light of a dry summer marked by a record heat.
I tasted the 2015 for MiNDFOOD readers; with almost seven years on lees this wine is impressive, the bouquet is voluptuous, even sumptuous, aromas of an ingrained autolysis wrapped in scents of white-fleshed strawberry and peach. A fine soft mousse coats the palate; it is voluminous carrying a backbone of acidity with flavours that reflect the bouquet. This wine is a blend of 44% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay and 24% Pinot Meunier.
The year 2006 was marked by a cold winter, frosty spring, and heatwaves in summer followed by hot, dry conditions before harvest. The benefit of 15 years on lees and disgorged in 2022 is an exacting decision by Gouez. A blend of 42% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir and 19% Meunier presents an aged wine that Gouez describes as golden-hued with a nut, smoke and fully integrated palate, flavours of fig, mango and yellow fruits.
Even more incredible, the 1999 which spent 21 years on lees and also disgorged in 2022, is a blend of 38% Pinot Noir, 31% Chardonnay and 31% Meunier. Gouez reflects on the vintage as one that sustained an erratically cold and wet winter, a warm spring, and a tropical end of summer marked by high heat and torrential rains. His decision to disgorge this wine after 21 years is perfect timing, Gouez describing this Champagne as a warm, powerful, and generous wine, with aromas and flavours of nougat and hazelnut, toast, dates and coffee.
How to secure The Tale of Light Trilogy?
With fewer than 1,000 collections available worldwide, The Tale of Light Trilogy (housed in a beautiful collectable wooden case) will be available for order in NZ from late 2023, and can be purchased exclusively at shop-au.moet.com/products/tale-of-light. Register your interest to be the first to know when this incredible testament to Gouez’s winemaking and narrative of light is available.
The vintage that anchors the story of the Trilogy, indulge in the Grand Vintage 2015, a celebration of ‘Luminous Morning’ available soon at The Good Wine Co.