Moët & Chandon has released its Grand Vintage Blanc and Grand Vintage Rosé from the 2008 vintage.
Producing wines described by chef de cave Benoît Gouez as “fresh and uncompromising, with acidity as the defining characteristic”, the 2008 vintage was one of the cooler years of the last decade.
Gouez, who has been head winemaker at Moët & Chandon since 2005, describes each Grand Vintage Cuvée as ‘Vintage by Moët & Chandon’ and his personal expression of a particular year, in contrast to the house’s flagship Impérial non-vintage..
“If our Impérial is about consistency, then Grand Vintage is about individuality,” Gouez said.
“I always use all three grape varieties, but there is no set assemblage.”
The new 2008 Blanc and Rosé are the 72nd and 41st releases, respectively, in the house’s Vintage history, which dates back to 1842. Gouez believes that 2008 was one of the cooler years of the last decade with temperatures similar to 2004 and 1998.
“For me, 2008 is an oceanic vintage,” he says. “Winter was mild, and spring mostly rainy and grey. The summer was also cool and, luckily, dry as well.
“September was the key month though: the initial rains were swept away by a north-westerly wind that instilled an unwavering vigour in the three grape varietals, and a fresh and uncompromising acidity which is this year’s defining characteristic.”
Harvest in 2008 ran from 12 to 27 September, with grapes picked at 9.8 potential alcohol and a high acid balance (8.6g H2SO4/l total acidity for 2.98pH).
Gouez said that such acidity in ripe grapes had not been encountered at Moët since 1995 and 1996.
The Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Blanc 2008 is an assemblage of 40% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier. Gouez described the wine as “vivacious and lively, with an underlying acidity that shows as a linear, focused palate”.
The Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2008 is a blend of 46% Pinot Noir (of which 20% is red wine), with 32% Chardonnay and 22% Meunier. Gouez descrobed the wine as being a “vivid, brilliant deep pink in colour with a fine bead”, adding that it was a “floral and fruity wine with notes of hawthorn, leading to a fresh palate with raspberry, cherry and blood orange flavours”.
As with every Moët Grand Vintage since 2002, dosage is 5g/l and the wine has been aged for seven years in the house’s cellars and for at least six months post-disgorgement.
Moët & Chandon’s Grand Vintage Trilogy Blanc
Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2008 is now available in the UK with an RRP of around £44. The Grand Vintage Rosé 2008 will be available in September with an RRP of around £59.
Grand Vintage Trilogy Blanc
Moët & Chandon has also unveiled the Grand Vintage Trilogy Blanc. The wooden gift box (pictured right) comprises the new Grand Vintage 2008 Blanc together with the Grand Vintage Collection 1998 and 1988.
“Both these Champagnes, coincidentally ending in ‘8’, represent a specific aspect inherent in the new 2008,” explained Gouez.
“Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 1998, for example, echoes the pale elegance of the Grand Vintage 2008 and projects its maturation into the future. The 1988, meanwhile, is very fresh with a focused palate and channels, for me, the linear and focused aspects of the new 2008 Vintage.”
The Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Trilogy Blanc will be available in the off-trade at an RRP of £173.
Every Grand Vintage is unique and original, the Cellar Master’s free, personal interpretation in service of revealing the exceptional personality of singular vintage years.
Grand Vintage 2008 perfectly embodies the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage spirit, a spirit founded on three essential values:
- Freedom of interpretation
- Selection of the year’s most remarkable wines
- Individuality of the vintage
For champagnes distinguished by their maturity, complexity and charisma.
Although temperatures were in line with 30-year averages, 2008 can still be considered a cooler year in comparison to the last decade, similar to 2004 and 1998. Winter was mild and spring mostly rainy and grey. Summer was particularly cool but, fortunately, dry as well. September was the key month for the 2008 vintage: the initial rains were swept away by a north-westerly wind that favoured proper ripening, healthy grapes and a smooth harvest, which was officially open from September 12th to 27th. At 9°8, the potential alcohol level fell within the averages for the decade and it was the high acid balance (8.6 g H2SO4/l total acidity per 2.98 pH) that was the salient characteristic of this vintage, which was preceded by several “warm” vintages. Such acidity in a mature vintage had not been encountered since 1995 and 1996. In another significant occurrence, all three varietals were in perfect health.