Moët & Chandon, established in 1743 by the French wine merchant Claude Moët, has become one of the world’s largest producers of prestige Champagnes. The MCIII, the Champagne house’s newest creation, besides being its most labor-intensive, is also its most dramatic, and establishes an unprecedented level of achievement among premium non-vintage Champagnes.
The “MC” of course stands for Moët & Chandon, and although the Roman numeral III could reflect the three centuries that span this maison’s existence, it actually symbolizes three different techniques—or, as the company refers to them, “stratums”—of this wine’s creation. MCIII is the result of aging and combining a number of Moët’s best Grand Vintage wines into what results in an ultra-luxurious, non-vintage Champagne. The maturation of these various vintages has been divided into a trilogy of aging vessels encompassing wood, glass, and metal. This innovative process took Moët’s Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez and his team of winemakers more than 20 years to perfect.
The first stratum, comprising 37 to 40 percent of the blend, consists of 2003 vintage chardonnay and pinot noir wines that have been fermented and aged in stainless steel vats, resulting in an intense, bright fruitiness. The second stratum, using the same percentages of wines, is composed of Grand Vintage blends from the 1998, 2000, and 2002 harvests that have been partially aged in large oak casks, then held in stainless steel vats to preserve their autumn-like richness. And, finally, the third stratum, 20 to 25 percent of the blend, is composed of Champagnes from Moët’s highly acclaimed Grand Vintage Collection from 1993, 1998, and 1999, which were bottled, aged, disgorged, and then added to the already-existing blend—a dramatic way to add even more depth to the MCIII character by introducing some of Moët’s finest cuvées.
The result is a Champagne of intense golden color that clouds the glass with a multitude of thin bubbles; fills the mouth with yeast, lemon, and roses; and lingers with a long, gentle finish. The black glass bottle, with its heavy silver base and cap and engraved accents, adds to the uniqueness of this Champagne, which will become a regular but limited part of the Moët & Chandon family.