This autumn, Moët & Chandon have emerged from the cellars to reveal a new champagne 15 years in the making – a blend celebrating different winemaking techniques, with wines aged in three different materials and combining at least six Grand Vintage champagnes.
Back in 2000, to celebrate the millennium, the brand created Esprit du Siécle by combining 11 of the 20th century's best vintage champagnes. Now, the company has introduced a new champagne after perfecting this blending process. MCIII is an amalgamation of still wines and champagnes from the Grand Vintage Collections, presented in a futuristic black glass bottle.
The wines have been matured in three different mediums – stainless steel, oak and glass – which ensures a variety of tones within the complex blend. The stainless steel layer affords a fruity dimension, the glass provides lively roasted notes and the aged wood layer brings in darker and more sophisticated flavours.
'The versions based on 1998 and 2000 vintages, which are fresh and elegant, proved to be dominated by [those] matured in wood and in the bottle,' explains Moët & Chandon's 'Chef de Cave' Benoît Gouez about the creation of MCIII and the processes of experimentation at work in the company's cellar. 'They did not express the fruity dimension that is so important to the Moët & Chandon style. As a result, we discarded them.
'We concluded that MCIII could not be designed on the base of all vintages,' he continues, 'but only on the richest and most intense vintages to ensure a solid foundation for the assemblage and to preserve the expression of the fruit in the finished product. As a result, MCIII is based on the 2003 vintage, an excellent and radiant vintage. This year experienced a heat wave: thanks to this we experience a richness in these two kinds of grapes.'
The design of the bottle is just as striking, particularly as it is a change in direction for the ordinarily more 'classic' style that typifies Moët & Chandon. The materials used echo the winemaking process – with a black glass bottle, metallic cap and base, and a wooden casket for the bottle.