Sparkling Wine - Description Sample

Moet & Chandon, Brut Imperial, N.V. Magnums

According to the House itself, Moet & Chandon claim to have invented sabering a champagne bottle, christening ships with champagne, and the iconic image of the tower of sparkling wine cascading down a tower of glasses. The House has been immortalized by royalty twice over in their warrant to supply champagne to Queen Elizabeth II and in the opening lines of Killer Queen. Tied only with their label Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon’s Brut Imperial is arguably the most famous champagne worldwide.

Champagne the region--and Brut Imperial is properly Champagne, a designation which per EU regulation can only be applied to sparkling wines grown in Champagne, France--is known for its sloping vineyards and chalky, limestone subsoil. The slopes increase the intensity of the sunlight as it hits the vineyards, while soil composition puts the vines under just enough stress as they strive to draw water out so that the grapes achieve a consistent balance of acidity and berry aroma. Though there is little seasonal variation in temperature, the generally colder climate of northern France brings out the tartness, especially of the Chardonnay grapes. This balances out the sugar added as part of the carbonation process. The “Brut” designation indicates that this is the least sweet champagne.

Moet & Chandon is known for their Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier/Chardonnay blend. The exact percentages are a trade secret, but, per the House, they are roughly 30-40%, 30-40%, and 20-30% respectively.  In color, the Brut Imperial is described as being a golden, straw yellow with green highlights. On the surface, this might be surprising; “pinot noir” is of course strongly associated with California reds. Moreover, The 20th century saw an increased demand for blanc de blanc champagnes. However, Pinot Noir, popular for its non-aggressive tannins, when pressed lightly produces a very pale pink-juice and has long been known as part of the Champagne grape blend. The House notes that the Pinot Noir provides structure, intensity, and notes of berries. Industry experts note that Pinot Meunier grapes contribute a fresh, fruity character but as it’s quick to ripen and lacks longevity few growers are willing to make it the dominant varietal (Krug being the notable exception). Finally, Chardonnay, known for its versatility, rounds out the blend. All in all, flavors include green apple, citrus, white flowers, blonde notes, white-fleshed fruits, and gooseberry. Moet & Chandon recommend sushi, scallops, oysters, white fish, white meats, and white fruits for pairing.


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Wine Folly. “Where Do Champagne Bubbles Come From?”