Moët & Chandon Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Its Iconic Brut Champagne
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In April 2019, Moët & Chandon celebrated the 150th anniversary of Moët Impérial, the French winery’s signature brut champagne. To mark this milestone, Moët & Chandon launched a limited edition bottle with a sleeker, more modern logo. It does away with the cream label for an all-black look, through which the new gold inscription—a bold serif “I”—shines more brightly.
In a sparkling fete, Moët & Chandon unveiled its majestically-restored Château de Saran, an architectural jewel in the lush landscape of Champagne, proudly inaugurated in time to host a spectacular celebration marking the 150th anniversary of Moët Impérial.
Tennis legend and brand ambassador Roger Federer, Hollywood stars Natalie Portman and Uma Thurman, style icon Kate Moss, British actor Douglas Booth and Derek Blasberg were among the guests celebrating the milestone.
Following an elegant cocktail party at the Château, a festive seated dinner was served in the very heart of the house’s vineyards, prepared like a concerto “with four hands” by the three Michelin-starred French chef and brand ambassador Yannick Alléno and chef Dominique Crenn, the first female chef to receive three Michelin stars in the US.
British singer-songwriter Freya Ridings also performed at the event, and the night was capped off with a display of colorful fireworks.
The Birth of an Icon
In 1869, on the centennial of Napoléon Bonaparte’s birth, Moët & Chandon released a brut non-vintage champagne named Brut Impérial—known today as Moët Impérial—as a tribute to the friendship between the French emperor and Jean-Remy Moët, the grandson of Claude Moët, the winery’s founder. The champagne is defined by its fruitiness, seductive palate, and elegant maturity—all distinguishing characteristics of Moët & Chandon’s blends.
When Moët & Chandon shipped its first order of Brut Impérial, it tapped into a nascent shift in global preference from sweet to brut champagne. Until then, the winery had focused on sweeter varieties of champagne; its brut production was limited to one percent annually. However, over the years, that percentage would increase—owing to the growing success of Moët Impérial—to become the overwhelming majority of Moët & Chandon’s production today.
A Champagne for Celebrations
In 1930, the aristocrat and war hero Robert-Jean de Vogüé joined Moët & Chandon as managing director and aimed to make Moët Impérial a global icon of celebration. Through his leadership, Moët Impérial would become the symbol of savoir-vivre.
Embodying grandeur and generosity, de Vogüé displayed the winery’s values as he played golf with President Eisenhower and dined with Gary Cooper, introducing Hollywood to his champagne.
In 1960, Kim Novak and Cary Grant were photographed enjoying a bottle of Moët Impérial at a star-studded Cannes dinner.
Woody Allen, Jerry Hall, David Bowie, Lauren Bacall, and Diana Vreeland celebrated the opening of Studio 54 in 1977 with the Moët Impérial. Andy Warhol was often photographed sharing a bottle with his friends. In 1984, Catherine Deneuve posed with a glass of Moët Impérial at Club 78 in Paris.
In 2006, Moët & Chandon was the champagne of choice at Paul Newman’s 40th birthday and at the 120th anniversary celebration of the Statue of Liberty.
In pop culture, The Devil Wears Prada (2006) showed Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) celebrate her Paris Fashion Week success with Moët Impérial. Meanwhile, The Great Gatsby (2013) culminated with Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) toasting with a glass of the brut champagne.
A Champagne for Victory
Moët Impérial became a symbol of victory in 1967. Racing champion Dan Gurney sprayed the champagne from the winner’s podium, beginning the “champagne spray” tradition on the world’s racing podiums.
In 2007, when Moët & Chandon first sponsored America’s Cup, guests toasted Moët Impérial in spirit of sportsmanship.
Capturing the Essence of the Champagne Region
Moët Impérial reflects the richness and diversity of Champagne’s vineyards. Through balanced flavors, it evokes sensual and mysterious qualities, at once light and generous, ample and fresh. The recipe is a blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay.
The rich ingredients come from Moët & Chandon’s 1,200-hectare vineyards, the largest in the region. To add nuance in its blends, Moët & Chandon combines its own harvest with grapes supplied by local growers in other wine-producing villages in the region.
“We believe in customized, adaptable oenology with minimum intervention,” explains Benoît Gouez, Moët & Chandon’s winemaker, “in order to preserve the natural diversity of the grapes, vineyards, and vintages. We do not force nature; we guide her.”
Winemaking at Moët & Chandon is both a craft and an art, still informed by De Vogüé’s savoir-faire. And while past traditions have been updated with today’s technology, the champagne is still faithful to its distinctive and beloved taste.