Because of strong demand, the deal on Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2006 at Majestic due to run until 9 May has ended prematurely. The best prices for this serious, vintage champagne are now £35 at Morrisons and £39 at ASDA.
Although it was not officially launched until May 2014, I first tasted Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2006 on 23 January in 2014 with winemaker Benoît Gouez. He described it as “a very attractive, ample vintage that’s more open than 2004”. The blend is made up of 42% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir and 19% Pinot Meunier. The Meunier is to bring the freshness to the blend normally delivered by the Chardonnay which Gouez says in ’06 were “ripe and Burgundy like in style”.
When first tasted over two years ago, it was already showing attractively, but Gouez was predicting a long life for this cuvée reminiscent of the 1999 and 1985 vintages which he chose to show alongside it as an indication of how it might develop over time at the preview of the wine in January 2014.
Moët and Gouez like to give the vintage releases at least six months post disgorgement rest before the wines go on sale – immediately after disgorgement the wines are in shock and don’t taste at their best, needing time to recover and for the sugar in the dosage added at this point to be assimilated. The richer styles of vintage champagne tend to get a lower level of dosage added, partly as the wines have already aged quite a big longer than their non-vintage counterparts. While Moët Brut Impériale now has around 9gms/litre added the vintage releases are quite a bit lower at around 5-6gms/l and Gouez has bought them down 2-3 gms/l in his recent releases.
In line with the modern trend the Moët vintage wines now all have a disgorgement date on the back label, so you can see what additional time the wine has had on the cork, a period during which it will tend to gather nuances of complexity in both aroma and flavour. So more post-disgorgement age is definitely a good thing, if you like more nutty, mature biscuity notes, textural richness and developed mouthfeel in you champagne. In other words this is a wine to savour now but that will develop further in your cellar. You need to hurry to bag a case.