Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut 2004
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
A brilliant light yellow color, with a fine jewel-like bead. On the nose, fruity notes of white peach, lemon, pineapple, green banana and pear. Floral, botanical scents of mock-orange, herbal tea and honeysuckle, with spicier sweeter nuances of pepper, brown sugar, marzipan and candied melon. The palate is straightforward, yet complex, with a sleek, pure, rich finish. It has a light, lively, supple structure with mineral overtones. Bracing, refreshing notes of rhubarb and grapefruit, with a touch of mint.
Pair with fish, seafood and caviar, duck and white meat such as poultry, fresh green flavors like coriander or lemongrass, sweet-tart flavors like citrus fruit, bracing flavors like green tomato or lemon, almonds, hazel nuts, figs, risotto and pasta.
Tasting Panel - "The house's 70th vintage champagne is a doozy. The nose shows peach, pear and honeysuckle; lush and smooth with ripe juicy fruit and notes of nuts and minerals; bracing, full and long."
Wine Spectator - "Minerally overtones accent flavors of candied black cherry, black currant and gumdrop that remain fresh, with a lively bead and well-cut acidity carrying accents of lemon zest, biscuit and fresh herb. Elegant yet expressive."
Moët & Chandon Winery
The largest Champagne house in France, Moët et Chandon was founded in 1743 by Claude Moët. They produce large volumes of non-vintage wine under the White Star and Brut Imperial designations, however, are best known for their premium brand Dom Pérignon. View all Moët & Chandon Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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