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Moet finally releases 2002

After an unprecedented seven years of ageing, Moët & Chandon launched its 2002 Grand Vintage cuvée in the UK this week.

moet-2002.jpgThe cuvée, which is normally released after five years, coincides with the launch of two Moët ‘Collection’ vintages, the 1975 and 1992, the latter of which Moët has declared an under-appreciated vintage in Champagne.

Chef du cave of the world’s largest Champagne house, Benoît Gouez, met with the drinks business this week to explain the reason for the delayed launch of the 2002, which has come after the launch of 2003.

He said: “Two years ago we could only see the fruity side of the [2002] wine, so it needed those two extra years. I wanted to wait for that toasty character to come through.”

However, Gouez also noted that part of the reason for this fruity dominance is the prominence of Chardonnay in the blend. He added: “Even though the wine is 51% Chardonnay, it could have easily been a third, a third, a third, as the quality of the whole vintage was so high. But I got seduced by the Chardonnay.”

Moët’s 2002 Grand Vintage only has a dosage level of 5.5g/l in a bid to enhance the “extraordinary” ripeness of the grapes. Gouez said: “This deliberately light dosage creates a firm, precise finish.”

Gouez explained the concept behind the release of Moët’s ‘Collection’ wines, which are chosen for their similar characteristics to the newly released vintage. He commented: “I wanted to have a larger selection of wines available, wines that might show you how the new wine might evolve in the future.”

Speaking of the quality of the 1992 vintage in particular, Gouez noted: “People don’t have good memories of 1992. It came after a trilogy of great Champagne vintages and it was during a period of crisis for the Champagne industry. But,” he added, “1992 was actually similar in quality to the 2002 vintage so it deserves to have a better reputation.”

Gouez concluded by offering a glimpse of the potential difficulties for some Champagne houses with the 2010 vintage. He said: “It was a very uneven harvest and this is the first year we have to hand sort all the berries. Those who can sort grapes and sort juice might be positively surprised with the 2010. I expect some good surprises.”

The Moët 2002 Grand Vintage will be available in Waitrose, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and independents from next month with an RRP of £38.99.

Click here to watch our YouTube interview with Benoît Gouez.

Jane Parkinson, 21.10.2010

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