Moët & Chandon MCIII Brut 001.14

$929.99 $1,100.00
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37.5% 2003 (50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir); 37.5% three vintages, 2002, 2000 and 1999, vinified in stainless steel tanks and aged for 5–7 months in 50hL oak foudres; 25% three vintages of Moët Grand Vintage Collection disgorged from the cellar, 1999, 1998 and 1993; ‘001.14’ on the front label denotes the first batch, disgorged in 2014; 5g/L dosage; just a few thousand bottles in the first release; 1000 magnums produced

Moët’s prestige cuvée was in creation for 15 years, first trialled in 2000, a blend of wines spanning 10 years, aged in three different ‘universes’, then matured on lees for a further 10 years. The focus is on ‘ripe, rich, solid vintage years’ (hence a choice of 2003 for the first release, with 2006 coming next; Gouez showed me an embargoed pre-release and it’s another step up), and base wines of ‘richness, intensity and weight’. He says he doesn’t understand the idea that acidity is a key in the ageing of champagne. ‘The warmer vintages age well, as the wines are based more on phenolic structure than on acidity. We need the warm-vintage phenolic bitterness of pinot noir to sustain this blend.’

When I first tasted MCIII in 2015, I wrote that I had every suspicion it would only get better with another five years post-disgorgement. That day has come, and the definition and energy it has upheld in magnum is nothing short of stunning. For one of the most complex recipes in all of champagne, spanning all dimensions of production, maturation and age, its complexity is predictably multidimensional, yet wonderfully vibrant. Now a full yellow-gold hue, the crunch of citrus zest is evenly harmonised with the ripe succulence and complexity of stone fruits, the exotics of glacé pineapple and spice, and the brioche, mocha and ginger cake of long age. The structure upholds the dry phenolic grip of the ripe 2003 vintage, yet fine-grained and tense, polished by the creamy effect of deep maturity. Excellent acid line drives a finish of outstanding persistence. 95 points - Tyson Stelzer