What’s a toast without Champagne? Moët & Chandon aims to elevate the simple toast with its newest and most luxurious Champagne yet, the MCIII. A unique blend of six vintages aged across three separate ageing processes, the Champagne is light, fruity yet complex without over empowering the palate.

Benoit Gouez, the Chef de Cave at Moët & Chandon, reveals the two decades of trial and error, of multiple blending variations and the limitless number of tastings it took before the MCIII was finally perfected.

What inspired the MCIII?

The inspiration for the blend is really the stratums, the three ageing universes: the stainless steel, the oak, and the glass. The idea was to have one that would bring richness, a second one would bring elegance, and a third one that would bring freshness.

With so many vintages blended together, you’d expect the MCIII to taste rich, but it’s surprisingly very light. How is this possible?

First, the selection of the vintages has been key to this. We have used only really refined vintages to make the MCIII. Secondly, I think the fermentation in the bottle has given back the energy and lightness, even to the more mature vintages. It’s a result, I can’t fully explain, but I would say it’s due to the quality of the wines that have been used in the blending.

How did you select the vintages?

We take all the vintages we have available and we do trials. We tried different formulations and  different blends. And we tasted each blend up to the moment when, voila, we realised that we have found the right blend. We do [tastings] at each stage. We don’t blend it at once; first we do the first stratum, we select the right chardonnay, the right pinot. After that, we wait a little bit. We do all the trials with the vintages aged in oak, and then we will add these vintages into it. And the third time, we’ll add the vintages in the bottle.

What is the best way to enjoy a glass of MCIII?

It can be with an aperitif or it can be with food, or it can be even with a cigar after dinner. The most important thing is that you take the time to enjoy it. Do it whenever you like, but take your time to enjoy it.

What you need is a large glass, in order to force the expression of it. And once it has been served, you can try tasting, but minute after minute the wine [changes], so that is also the reason why you need to have some time in order to taste the evolution of the wine. If you drink all of it when it has just been pulled, you won’t have the chance to appreciate all of its evolution.

How do you like to pair MCIII?

I have started to pair MCIII with different kinds of food, and what I have learned so far is that it is so complex that it plays with a lot of flavours and ingredients. You can do a lot of things with it – it’s not a shy Champagne. It’s not a Champagne that is limited in its possibilities. So far [my favourite pairing] would be with a classic chicken with cream and mushrooms. Something that is savoury with some richness and with the sort of brown texture-y character that comes from mushrooms. That is for me, a very good match.