champagne drinking

Image courtesy of Moët & Chandon

LUX joins Moët & Chandon’s cellar master Benoît Gouez, over Zoom, at Château de Saran for an exclusive tasting of the champagne house’s latest vintage release

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting in which to drink champagne than Château de Saran, Moët & Chandon’s grand 18th-Century hunting lodge in Épernay where close friends of the maison – celebrities, fashion designers, artists politicians and royalty – are invited for glittering dinners and intimate soirées. Sadly, due to pandemic restrictions, our tasting happens over Zoom, led by Moët & Chandon’s distinguished cellar master Benoît Gouez, who introduces and opens the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2013 while seated in the château’s majestic drawing room. Meanwhile, we have our own bottle, along with the Grand Vintage Rosé, to sample, complete with two Moët & Chandon glasses.

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First created in 1842, and now in its 75th iteration, each Grand Vintage cuvée is created from a selection of a single year’s most remarkable wine that reflects the cellar master’s subjective and emotional assessment of the personality and potential of each variety. Mr. Gouez explains that 2013 was a particularly cold and wet year, which resulted in a delayed harvest in October, followed by a cool spring and then, uncharacteristically warm summer. All of this, however, helped to create the sensuous, rustic aromas of the vintage – initial notes of fresh apple and pear give way to more textured, woody flavours. It might seem trite to say, but it tastes golden, bringing to mind the warm shades of autumnal leaves. By contrast, the Grand Vintage Rosé is more fruity and floral, with a slight hint of spice.

champagne bottle with two glasses

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2013 Rosé. Image courtesy of Moët & Chandon

At the end of our tasting, Mr. Gouez leads us (virtually) through to the Château’s kitchen where Executive Chef Marco Fadiga teaches us how to prepare a dinner pairing for the rosé: poached lobster in a grenadine and grapefruit broth. Despite following the chef’s instructions carefully, our final dish, inevitably, doesn’t look (and most likely taste) anywhere near as delectable as his, but the fresh bitterness and sweetness of the fruit with the meatiness of the lobster bring out the depth and richness of the rosé beautifully. By the end of the evening, we’ve almost forgotten that we’re not actually in a French hunting lodge overlooking miles of verdant green vineyards in the capitale du Champagne.

Find out more: moet.com