To celebrate the 280th anniversary of the founding of the house in 1743, Moët et Chandon debuts a new multi-vintage prestige cuvée called Moët Collection Impériale Creation No. 1. The new Champagne is ‘the first of a series of cuvées d’exception’ leading up to Moët’s 300th anniversary in 2043.
Moët et Chandon cellar master Benoît Gouez promises a new release of Moët Collection Impériale every two years, forming a countdown to the maison’s big milestone. Gouez notes that, far from being completely new, the Collection Impériale Creation series is ‘an evolution of Moët’s MCIII prestige cuvée,’ showing the concept of ageing and blending. While the MCIII is still available on the market, it has been discontinued and replaced by this new wine.
The first wine in the new series was based on the 2013 vintage, a cooler year that saw harvest fall in October, a late picking for the region that has not occurred since. For Gouez, this is the chief difference to its precursor cuvée MCIII, which had been based on the 2003 vintage, a much hotter year. ‘We found that when using bases that are a little too rich, we are making a style that is a little too rich for Moët & Chandon, which should keep a certain level of lightness. The concept has been refined.’
The first wine in the new series was based on the 2013 vintage, a cooler year
The 2013 makes up a 42.5% portion of the blend and was aged in stainless steel. Another 42.5% is made up of reserve wines from five further vintages, namely 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006 and 2000, all aged in 10-year-old 5,000 litre oak casks ‘to develop roundness, smoothness and unctuosity,’ according to Gouez. The remaining 15% of the wine is from the 2004 vintage, aged in bottle under crown cap, disgorged and added to this blend – which brings Moët Collection Impériale Creation No. 1 up to total of seven vintages. ‘The 2013 is supposed to give the fruit, the aged reserves give the unctuosity, some patina,’ Gouez says. ‘The bottles from 2004 bring strong reductive and mineral character.’ The wine is made from 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier. It was disgorged in March 2022 without any dosage, making it a brut nature.
Not adding any dosage is a departure for the house. ‘I found that the wine was so delicious I decided to add no dosage,’ Gouez says. ‘It was not planned. For a long time, I was convinced that some sugar was needed for the ageing of Champagne, so with Collection, I go against a lot of things that I have campaigned for. But here, the truest expression of this wine was without sugar. The idea was to pull all the levers we have to make a wine.’
I found that the wine was so delicious I decided to add no dosage – Gouez
Gouez calls the house’s non-vintage label Moët Impérial ‘a timeless classic’, and happily draws more parallels to fashion with the creation of this new prestige cuvée.
‘Like the petite robe noir, [the little black dress], Moët Impérial is our prêt-à-porter [ready-to wear]. Our vintage is more sur mesure, [made to measure], with more variation, telling the story of the year. There is a style to keep but, in the end, there is more freedom, it is more emotional than rational.’
He terms the new Collection Impériale Creation, however, as ‘haute couture’ and asks: ‘if there is haute gastronomie, haute joaillerie… why not haute oenologie?
‘For me, this integrates all the know-how of the last 280 years. It still is about the three varieties, about the different villages but with a different layer of complexity.’