At the beginning of the summer I travelled to Paris to attend the launch party of Moet et Chandon new MCIII Champagne. Safe to say it was a rather glamourous experience and I am still pinching myself that I attended such an exclusive event! But let me start from the beginning…
Shortly after arriving in Paris and checking in my room at the stunning Molitor Hotel, I was whisked off to a secret location for a tasting masterclass with Moet Imperial and Grand Vintage 2006.
I was taught that tasting Champagne is a technical but also emotional experience. To fully appreciate – and understand – the taste of the wine, you need to connect to your senses and emotions.
I was asked questions such as: “what does it remind you of?”, “what is your connection with the Champagne?”. The answer could be a picture, an animal, a feeling, a season, a memory, a place…for me the Grand Vintage was like stormy waters and waves crashing against the rocks on a cold night.
This exercise prepared me for the MCIII tasting later that evening and allowed me to fully appreciate the new ultra-prestige cuvee.
The launch of MCIII was an important moment in the story of Moet et Chandon, because this is a Champagne that is never been made before.
It’s the result of a pioneering blend of several vintage wines: 1. base wines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (from the harvest in 2003) aged and fermented in stainless steel vats; 2. Grand Vintage base wines from 1998, 2000 and 2002 aged in oak barrels; 3. Grand Vintage cuvees from 1993, 1998 and 1999 aged in glass bottles. Each tier complements and enhances the others for a perfectly integrated whole.
The idea of opening up bottles of great vintage Champagne and put it back into the cask to blend it with still wines is quite extraordinary. It’s a bold move and only the world’s largest cellar of vintage champagnes, with 272 years of experience in wine-making, could take such a risk and pull it off!
“The idea was first conceived in 2000, so it has taken us 15 years to present the first version” Benoit Gouez – Chef de Cave at Moet et Chandon – said. It was a style exercise – exercice de style – and the result of Benoît’s expertise, personal flair and instincts.
Part of Moet et Chandon’s DNA is the balance between tradition and modernity, so while the MCIII is very rooted in the brand’s know how and tradition, it is also completely new. “I think it’s a very beautiful proposition and it’s very very different from everything we did in the past”, Stephane Baschiera – CEO of Moet et Chandon said during our interview.
Later that day I arrived at Palace de la Bourse for the official launch party of MCIII with journalists and influencers from all over the world.
I was greeted with a glass of Moet et Chandon Champagne and led into a dark, pyramid-shaped room. A visual and audio installations started playing, surrounding me completely, while waiters/actors walked around the room serving Champagne and canapés. My video of the installation can be found at the bottom of the post.
At the end of the immersive video experience I was led into the main hall for dinner.
Finally the time to taste the new MCIII Champagne arrived and immediately I was struck by the beauty and boldness of the bottle.
There is no label and the name MCIII is engraved on the black bottle. The design embodies the three elements of the MCIII cuvée: the glass bottle, the steel cap and the wooden box.
Engraved under the name are five numbers: 001 because this is the first cuvée of MCIII; 14 to indicate the year of disgorgement.
Another thing I immediately noticed was the unusual glass. Traditionally, Champagne is served in flutes to preserve its effervescence, but MCIII wouldn’t have the space to express fully in a small glass. According to Benoît, the complexity and texture of this Champagne are best appreciated in a “Bordeaux” glass by XELTO.
The MCIII is an elegant Champagne, super complex but surprisingly delicate and easy to drink. It is the synthesis of tradition and modernity: because tradition and authenticity are nothing without innovation.
The party continued till the early hours as we danced, drank Moet Imperial and gorged of wonderful French patisserie.
And then, one last look at the sparkling Tour Eiffel before saying au revoir to Paris and to the prestigious world of Moet et Chandon.
Moet & Chandon MCIII is available for £330 (suggested RSP). For orders and enquiries click here.
Disclaimer: I attended the press trip as a guest of Moët & Chandon. All opinions are my own.