Location: Avenue de Champagne, Épernay
When was Moet & Chandon founded? Moët & Chandon was founded in 1743.
Who founded Moet & Chandon? Dutch wine trader Claude Moët founded the eponymous champagne brand. It was initially a family-owned brand but is now part of the LVMH group (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and owns both Dom Perignon and Hennessy.
Winemaking Designation: The wine designation for Moët & Chandon is Négociant-Manipulant (NM). They supply only 25% of the grapes they use for winemaking. The rest are bought from winegrowing partners throughout the Champagne region.
Moet & Chandon Vineyards
How to pronounce Moet & Chandon
The correct way to pronounce the name of this wine producer is mow-et ey shawn-dawn (using typical American English spellings to indicate pronunciation).
Here is an explanation of how to pronounce each syllable with examples:
- “mow” sounds the same as ‘mow’ in mowing the grass
- “et” sounds like the ‘et’ in ‘bet’
- “ey” sounds like the ‘ey’ in ‘hey’ – this is simply the pronunciation of the French word for “and”
- “shawn” sounds like it is spelled, basically like the name “Shawn” or “Shaun”
- “dawn” sounds like the same word for sunrise (or soap)!
You may definitely hear Moët et Chandon pronounced in different ways. Part of the reason is that typically in French, the “t” at the end of a word spelled like Moet would be silent. However, this does not always apply in the case of names and proper nouns. Since the founder of Moët was Dutch, and the “t” would definitely be pronounced in Dutch, it is proper to include the “t” in the pronunciation of Moët.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why someone would incorrectly pronounce Moët to sound like “mow-ey”. So there’s no need to be difficult if someone makes this minor mistake, but by following the above guidance you can be confident you are pronouncing the name of this wine correctly.
How many vineyards does Moet & Chandon have?
Moët & Chandon has vast vineyards. In fact, it is so extensive that they make up the largest vineyard in the Champagne region of France. The grapes that they use for vinification are grown in their 2,840-acre estate.
Around 50% of their vineyards are grands crus and 25% are premiers crus. The Champagne House has access to around 200 of the region’s 323 crus, which includes 17 grands crus and 32 of the 44 premiers crus.
Where are the vineyards?
Moët & Chandon’s vineyards nestle in the villages of Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, Sézanne, and Aube. These are the main areas in the Champagne region where the three grape varieties come from.
The terroir in these vineyards is characterized by rich, chalky soils, with unstable climate. Among the three grape varieties grown, Pinot Noir dominates their vineyards. The second most planted grape variety is Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay third.
Pinot Noir grows in the vast Montagne de Reims and Aube, while Meunier is grown in Vallée de la Marne. Chardonnay, the white grape variety, is grown in Côte des Blancs and Sézanne.
Growing Practices at Moet & Chandon
Are they organic or biodynamic?
As the biggest producer of champagne in the wine world, Moët & Chandon is well aware of the example they set for the entire region. The House owes their fine wines to the delicate environment and soil in its vineyards.
In 2012, The luxury Maison took the extra mile to tackle climate change. The Champagne House have been using electric saddle tractors to reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, it’s the first in the Champagne region to invest in green technology.
They currently have a fleet of 12 tractors but they plan to add more by 2030. Their saddle tractors also offer driving flexibility and produce less noise.
This initiative drastically cuts their fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It saves them up to 90% on fuel use. Plus, the electricity comes from hydropower plants. The House now also recycles its waste and uses nearly 100% green technology.
In that same year, Moët & Chandon built a new site for winemaking in Mont-Aigu. It is a sustainable, ultra-modern, and energy-efficient vat room or “cuverie” that helps reduce carbon footprint and helps with less water usage. The site is also the first in France to be awarded the “High Environmental Quality” label.
But years prior to that, Moët & Chandon received ISO-14001 certification for all its sites and activities in 2007. In 2014, their 2,840-acre estate was doubly certified for sustainable viticulture and high environmental value. In 2017, around 25 acres of it were converted to organic certification.
The Champagne House has substantially cut its use of herbicides to combat plant diseases. The vineyards don’t use pesticides at all and before 2020 ended, their vineyards became 98% herbicide-free.
But, Moët & Chandon’s vow to sustainable viticulture extends beyond their vast estate. The Champagne House has over 2,000 winegrowers and cooperatives that they’ve helped get certified for sustainable viticulture. By providing training sessions for winegrowers, both small and medium vineyards could get certified.
And now, about 20% of their 2,000 wine-growing partners’ total acreage is now certified for sustainable viticulture.
Any special growing techniques used?
When it comes to protecting the biodiversity in the very land that birthed the French wine company, Moët & Chandon believe preserving the soil is key. When the soil is healthy, all living organisms in that land, like trees, can coexist.
The Maison’s dedication to preserving biodiversity can be traced back to 1900 when Claude Moët’s 9th generation descendant Raoul Chandon de Briailles established the École Pratique de Viticulture Moët & Chandon, later named Fort Chabrol.
In terms of wine growing, Fort Chabrol helped develop scientific grafting techniques. They put aside and preserve old vines in a conservatory to future-proof their successors. This also helps maintain the complexity of each grape variety. The House is still adapting the wine-growing techniques to this day.
Moët & Chandon continues to explore different biodynamic techniques in several of their plots while keeping organic objectives in mind.
Winemaking at Moet & Chandon
Who is the winemaker?
Benoît Gouez didn’t come from a winery background. However, in 1990, he started to gain interest in viticulture and oenology and attended École Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie in Montpellier.
From studying biology to oenology, Gouez delved into exploring the New World as his first winemaking experience. But his debut with Moët & Chandon was in 1998 when he met Philippe Coulon, the Champagne House’s director of the oenology at the time.
In 2005, Gouez became the cellar master at Moët & Chandon.
What types of wine-making techniques do they use?
The winemaking techniques at Moët & Chandon are quite traditional. But, having access to the largest estate in the Champagne region is what makes their French wines so unique.
Every year, the House has over 800 reserved wines available. Because the estate is so large, the House can decide on the perfect plots for the blends. And to the experts at Moët & Chandon, blending is everything. It’s an ancestral art and is done in the same way that the House had always done it.
To create a wine that fully embodies Moët & Chandon’s unique style, a tasting committee of 10 oenologists selects and harmonizes the wines from different vineyards, grape varietals, and years. The cellar master then arrives at a decision based on the characteristic of the wines on the palate and interpretations from the panelists and creates the final blend.
For the fermentation process, the House uses stainless steel vats. In fact, Moët & Chandon is the first champagne producer to use stainless steel vats to improve fermentation and aging, and better facilitate storage preservation processes.
The House also uses its own proprietary yeast that comes in two strains. However, most of the time, only one strain of yeast is used for the first and second fermentation, although this can be switched around occasionally.
The wines are taken out of the vats, bottled, and go through maturation in its 28 kilometers of cellars. These wines are aged in the bottle at 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit and stacked horizontally. Their vast cellars can accommodate up to 500,000 bottles.
When it’s time to settle the sediments, most of the wines are stirred by automatic gyro palettes. However, some of their exceptional champagnes are manually riddled for 4 to 6 weeks. A cellar worker can riddle up to 52,000 bottles a day. Disgorgement is done both manually and automatically.
The Wines at Moet & Chandon
Moët & Chandon makes a wide selection of wines, all carefully crafted from the three grape varieties. The Moët Impérial collection is available in different versions, while their grand vintage wines capture the essence of each year’s climate and yield, showcasing the full potential of the ripest grapes.
Chandon Moët Impérial – A blend of more than 100 different wines, in which 20 to 30% are reserve wines; 30 to 40% Pinot Noir, 30 to 40%, and 20 to 30% Chardonnay. This wine is fermented both alcoholic and malolactic in stainless steel tanks. It’s the house’s iconic champagne and is aged in the bottle for 3 to 4 and contains 7 grams per liter dosage.
Rosé Impérial – Made of 20 to 30% specially selected reserve wines; 40 to 50% Pinot Noir, 30 to 40% Pinot Meunier, and 10 to 20% Chardonnay. This wine is the rosé version of the Brut Impérial. It’s aged in the bottle for 3 to 4 years and contains 7 grams per liter dosage.
Ice Impérial – Made of 20 to 30% specially selected reserve wines; 40 to 50% Pinot Noir, 30 to 40% Pinot Meunier, and 10 to 20% Chardonnay. First introduced in 2011, this wine is crafted to be served over ice. It’s aged for 3 to 4 years and contains 45 grams per liter dosage.
Nectar Impérial – Made from 20 to 30%specially selected reserve wines; 40 to 50% Pinot Noir, 30 to 40% Pinot Meunier, and 10 to 20% Chardonnay. The wine is aged for 18 months and at least another 3 months after disgorgement. It contains 45 grams per liter dosage.
Nectar Impérial Rosé – A blend of 20 to 30% specially selected reserve wines; 45 to 55% Pinot Noir, 35 to 45% Pinot Meunier, and 5 to 10% Chardonnay. This pink-hued wine is the rosé version of the Nectar Impérial. The rosé champagne contains 45 grams per liter dosage and is aged in the cellars for 18 months and another 3 months after disgorgement.
Grand Vintage Collection 1999 – 38% Pinot Noir, 31% Chardonnay, and 31% Pinot Meunier. This vintage wine is aged in the cellars for 21 years and at least another 6 months after disgorgement. It contains 5 grams per liter dosage.
Grand Vintage Collection 2006 – The Chardonnay dominates the blend at 42%, Pinot Noir at 39%, and Pinot Meunier at 19%. This vintage wine is aged in the cellars for 15 years and another 6 months after disgorgement. It contains a dosage of 5 grams per liter.
Grand Vintage 2015 – 44% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay, and 24% Pinot Meunier. This new vintage wine is aged in the cellars for 6 years and at least another 6 months after disgorgement. It contains a dosage of 5 grams per liter.
Visit Moet & Chandon
To visit the luxury Maison, online bookings are available or you can make a reservation by calling their hotlines. Tours typically include a visit to the cellars and wine tastings.