Moët & Chandon has unveiled its Grand Vintage 2013, along with its Grand Vintage Rosé 2013. The new bottlings bring the taste of autumn as 2013’s cold conditions led to a late harvest.
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. It’s “like working with photo negatives,” says Benoît Gouez, chef de cave at Moët & Chandon.
“You can see shapes and contours, you may be confident in the result, but you cannot be certain what the photo will look like until after you have developed it,” explains Gouez.
2013 was particularly cold, which delayed budburst and flowering, and resulted in an October harvest (the first time since 1991). The cold and wet winter was followed by a cool spring and warmer summer, which pushed ripening into early October. Although the cool and slightly wet September made it a challenge to achieve maturity while keeping the vines in perfect health, the moderate yields of 13,000 kg/hectare worked in the vintage’s favor, resulting in a good level of maturity.
“By the time the wines were born, all of Champagne was a gleaming shade of gold: the vines were blond and brown, the trees, a burnt sienna, and the hills painted red and orange,” says Gouez. The 2013 vintage is described as an “energetic and chiselled wine with autumnal aromas.”
Gouez focused on specially selected Pinot Noir grapes for the Grand Vintage 2013. “We boldly decided to magnify the carefully chosen Pinot Noirs, which demonstrated an outstanding chiselled structure,” he explained. “That is why Grand Vintage 2013 has nearly equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.”
The final result found the Champagne using 41% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir and 21% Meunier.
On the nose, aromas of roasted chestnuts, toasted buckwheat, rich nuts, honey and nougat giveaway to scents of preserved lemons and ripe nectarine, while notes of iodine, dried flowers and pine sap complete the aromatic bouquet. The palate is energetic and delicate with a lively acidity and a chiselled structure. The finish features a pleasant hint of bitter white grapefruit.
The Maison is also releasing the Grand Vintage Rosé 2013, its 44th rosé vintage. Described as offering “generous aromas and a spicy fruitiness that defines its mouthfeel,” it is driven by the predominance of Pinot Noir (44% of the assemblage, of which 14% is red wine), and also features Chardonnay (35%), and 21% Meunier, with a dosage of 5g/l.
The wine delivers notes of wild strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate, followed by a touch of acidity and spice, dried flowers and fresh leather, while crisp stone fruit and finely powdered textures lead to a long grapefruit finish.
The Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2013 is priced at £55, while the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2013 costs £77. Both can be purchased at clos19.com, selected retailers and bistros.