Napoléon And Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial: A Signature Champagne Named After Emperor Bonaparte

Luxferity, 22.11.2023

World of wines & liqueursRecommend Recommend


Napoléon And Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial: A Signature Champagne Named After Emperor Bonaparte


The connection between Moët & Chandon and the noble houses of Europe has been flourishing since the foundation of the Maison in 1743 and, by the time Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France in 1804, Maison Moët had established an ongoing commercial relationship with the Bonaparte family. This link, with time and mutual dedication, led to Moët Imperial, Moët & Chandon’s signature champagne, being named after Emperor Napoleon in 1869, in the centennial of his birth.

Napoléon And Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial: A Signature Champagne Named After Emperor Bonaparte

The History

It all started with Jean-Remy Moët who, in 1801, began supplying champagne to Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul. That relationship of trust was extended to his family as Maison Moët earned the patronage of Bonaparte’s mother Letizia, and his wife, Joséphine.

As Emperor, Napoleon stopped in Épernay several times during his eastward military campaigns. In 1807, when Napoleon paid him a first visit, Jean-Remy Moët, then mayor of Épernay, treated the Emperor to a tour of the Moët cellars – the very same cellars that visitors can tour today: a marble plaque in the “Imperial Gallery” of Moët & Chandon’s cellars named after the Emperor commemorates the event.

In 1814, as Napoleon waged war in the East, invading armies passed through Épernay in the Emperor’s wake, laying waste to the town and pillaging its cellars. In the face of invaders, Jean-Remy Moët protected his town with courage and determination. That same year, Jean-Remy was awarded the Legion of Honor by the Emperor in recognition of his sacrifice and courage in protecting his town, but also for his contribution to bringing distinction to France with the excellence of his champagne.

Years later, the Moët Impérial, Moët & Chandon’s signature champagne, was named after Emperor Napoleon. To honor his memory, when the first bottles of Moët Impérial were shipped in 1869, they were timed to coincide with the centennial of the Emperor’s birth. A century later, in 1969, Robert-Jean de Vogüé, who was at the helm of Moët & Chandon at the time, took part in an “Imperial Cruise” aboard the cruise ship Le France, to mark the champagne’s allegiance to the Emperor, and acquired one of Napoleon's distinctive hats.

About Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial, whose 150th Anniversary was celebrated in 2019, is a signature champagne designed as a well-balanced bouquet to reflect the diversity of Champagne and its vineyards most generously. It is the blend that Cellar Master Benoît Gouez carefully recreates each year, from approximately 50% same-year wines and 50% reserve wines derived from the two preceding years, though those precise percentages vary depending on the characteristics of the grape juices at hand.

“For each assemblage, we use about 10 pre-assemblages of 10 to 15 base wines, which translates into about 100 to 150 different wines in the Moët & Chandon Impérial” says Gouez.

Respectful of the landscape of the region, Moët Impérial bears the imprint of the terroir of Champagne itself.

In the spirit of preserving that authenticity, Moët Impérial brings together in its assemblage, a generous third of Pinot Noir, another third of Meunier and a lesser third of Chardonnay. The composition of the Moët Impérial is not a recipe. It is an assemblage of the same three cépages that the Cellar Master adjusts continuously to respect an accurate Champenois balance.

Each year, Moët & Chandon will make a different assemblage for its flagship champagne. The percentages are tweaked to ensure consistency.

This comprehensive assemblage achieves the iconic house style that has been the preferred choice of Moët & Chandon lovers for some 150 years.

Moët Impérial is a champagne for all seasons and circumstances. It is a champagne that is delicious yet accessible. It is very complete yet thrives on its simplicity, in the sense that it does not seek complexity but rather ultimate harmony and versatility.

Every three months, new blends of this house style champagne are perfected in the same year to maintain its consistency and to ensure that there is never a detectable difference between the first and the last bottle of Moët Impérial bottled that year.

Moët & Chandon Impérial is a vibrant, generous and alluring wine. Its initial dimension is a fruitiness that emanates from its yellow, white and green aromas that combine touches of white fruits, citrus fruits and floral notes.

Moët Impérial evokes first the image of a fruit basket to which we bring a second dimension of elegant maturity expressed through ‘blonder’ notes that are slightly buttery, evoking fresh bread or the nuttiness of walnuts, which add complexity without overwhelming the Champagne’s fruitiness.

The dosage of Moët Impérial is limited to 5 grams per liter, so that the champagne maintains its light freshness in a measured balance between its acidity and fruitiness.

Following 24 months in the cellars for maturation after bottling, the assemblage of Moët Impérial acquires generous notes of toasty brioché that layer onto its fruitiness.

“For me the highest compliment on the Moët & Chandon Impérial is that it is delicious. It does not matter what makes it so, just pop the cork and enjoy!” - concludes Gouez.