There’s no obligation for Moët & Chandon to release a vintage. Given Moët Impérial is the best-selling champagne in the world, it would be easy for the winemaker to simply kick back and let the Brut do the talking.
But in certain remarkable years, a single harvest can offer wines that have so much generosity and ageing potential, that a vintage is declared. Since Moët’s first vintage back in 1842, only 76 vintages have been released, so when one comes along, you know it’s going to be special. But what about three?
OK, technically, the 2015 is the only ‘new’ vintage here, as the 2006 and 1999 are ‘Collection’ releases – second disgorgements which have been resting on their lees for a minimum of 14 years and matured on cork enhancing their richness all the while maintaining an impressive level of freshness. However, Moët’s chef de cave Benoît Gouez has brought together this trilogy of vintages, all disgorged last year, in what’s been evocatively entitled a ‘Tale of Light’.
The trio begins with Grand Vintage 2015 – the ‘Luminous Morning’, before rising to the Grand Vintage Collection 2006 – the ‘Dazzling Zenith’, then proceeding to the Grand Vintage Collection 1999 – the ‘Vibrant Twilight’.
Sounds like a great day in the office to us. But really, this is a poetic interpretation of the passage of time by a cellar master who has spent a quarter of a century looking after Moët’s considerable stocks.
Ethan Boroian, global brand ambassador of Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage and Grand Vintage Collection, explains more: “Every Grand Vintage is unique, however when Benoît Gouez creates a new vintage he can’t help recall similar vintages, which is why we’ve released Grand Vintage 2015 alongside Grand Vintage Collection 2006 and Grand Vintage Collection 1999. They tell a similar story and share certain characteristics.
"The most fascinating thing about this release is to see how a similar wine evolves over time, you get to have an indication of how Grand Vintage 2015 will age.”
Grand Vintage 2015
Grand Vintage 2015’s Luminous Morning sobriquet refers to the ardent sun that contributed to the profile of this mature, complex and charismatic blend. Its grapes enjoyed a clement winter, a warm spring, and a baking-dry summer marked by record temperatures. Welcome rains in August meant the weather was conducive to ripening, which has led to a structured, enveloping champagne. Matured in the cellars of Moët & Chandon for six years, this pinot-dominant blend really sings on the palate. Morning birdsong, if you will.
Grand Vintage Collection 2006
Unlike 2015, 2006 began with a chilly start and a frosty spring. But intermittent heat waves in the summer followed by hot, dry conditions before harvest gave this vintage everything it needed to become one for the ages. The Grand Vintage Collection 2006 boasts a profile defined by Benoît Gouez as “smoky, full-bodied, and stretched.”
Aged in cellars for 15 years before disgorgement in 2022, this a warm, radiant wine – sunshine in a glass.
Grand Vintage Collection 1999
The last vintage of the millennium lived through a cold, wet winter, a warm spring, and a tropical summer which flitted between high heat and torrential rain. The result was a warm, powerful, and generous champagne.
Where 2015 saw pinot noir take the prize, and 2006 lent itself to chardonnay, 1999 was the year of meunier, which really stood out.
An elegant, luxurious wine, it’s one to enjoy with black tie and cocktail dresses – and a killer sunset.
To buy Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2015, head to clos19.com. Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection 2006 and 1999 will be landing in the UK later this year – watch this space.