Moët & Chandon’s New Grand Vintages Are Three Acts In An Effervescent ‘Tale Of Light’
— 28 July 2023

Moët & Chandon’s New Grand Vintages Are Three Acts In An Effervescent ‘Tale Of Light’

— 28 July 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Just a few weeks prior, Benoît Gouez — the veteran chef de caves (cellar master) of Moët & Chandon, the world’s largest and almost certainly most famous Champagne house — landed on Antipodean shores to unveil three new ‘Grand Vintages’: exceptional year-specific releases which, taken together, provide a snapshot of what Gouez refers to as a “tale of light”.

Encompassing vintages from 1999, 2006, and 2015: each Grand Collection release emphasises a different length of maturation; whilst also being underpinned by “a common luminous experience”.

According to the Moët & Chandon Chef de Caves himself:

“Each Grand Vintage is my interpretation of a specific year, and as such, is unique…all different, but products of relatively similar climatic conditions, forming a one-of-a-kind trio to tell their shared ‘Tale of Light’.”

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Having been a near-lifelong employee at the Moët Maison since 1998, Gouez is notable for having worked on all three Grand Vintages which form the crux of this year’s premium Champagne releases.

Unlike the house’s flagship Impérial bottling, each of these Grand Vintages is made with a minimum quantity of residual sugar (5g/L): bearing, as a result, the designation of ‘extra brut’. This in turn allows the natural characteristics of the respective vintages (e.g. notably conditions of harvest and climate) to better shine through.

Moet & Chandon grand vintage

That said, what is uniform here is the discipline involved in the winemaking process: the 2015, youngest of the trio, matures on lees for 6-7 years; while the more mature vintages (of 2006 and 1999) are rested in the cellar for twice that duration. Disgorgement — that all-crucial final step in the creation of Champagne — is overseen in all cases by Gouez.

In line with other Grandes Maisons, Moët & Chandon are also in the habit of declaring nicknames for their various landmark vintages; and in the case of the up-and-coming 2015, Gouez and co have opted to call it ‘Luminous Morning’ (in deference to that year’s “dazzingly” dry and intense summer).

Record-hot growing conditions have contributed to a bottling that already displays great body and intensity upon drinking; making it a convenient means of introducing curious wine drinkers to the (admittedly labyrinthine) world of year-specific Moët.

Meanwhile, the 2006 Grand Vintage has been christened the “dazzling zenith” (in recognition, according to Gouez, of the “smoky, full-bodied” wines which were a hallmark of that year); while the 1999 — marked by extreme meteorological phenomena and unusually large vines — is described as “vibrant twilight”.

In particular, here in the office we were pretty pleased to get some hands-on tasting time with the ’99 vintage. Over two decades of ageing has endowed the oldest of these new Grand Vintages with remarkably detailed gourmand notes of liquorice and candied dates; yet the wine, as a whole, remains very energetic — the result of Gouez’s decision to disgorge it a mere year before wide release.

Completionists may purchase all three bottles in the ‘Tale of Light’ as a set via Moët’s dedicated Australian e-store. Production of these is limited to 1,000 units globally.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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