Lunching with Moet & Chandon winemaker Elise Losfelt

May 15, 14 Lunching with Moet & Chandon winemaker Elise Losfelt

Last week I was invited to lunch with one of the young up and coming winemakers of Champagne, Elise Losfelt of Moët & Chandon. Elise is relatively new to the Moët team and is originally from a family of Languedoc winemakers but ended up in Champagne. We met up with Elise at Heston’s Dinner in the Mandarin Oriental. It was my first visit there and I have to say the food does live up to the hype, especially the Meat Fruit – definitely worth trying.

Moet wine maker Elise Mosfelt

Moet wine maker Elise Mosfelt

But, I’m jumping ahead here. Elise picked Dinner because she though their food would best showcase the bottles of Moët she’d brought for lunch. After much consultation with the Head Sommelier, we settled on the food and dived into the champagnes. We started with the Moët Imperial as Elise thinks that best expresses the house style: bright frutiness, easy to understand with a supple and seductive palate.  I have to admit, I haven’t had Moët Imperial in quite some time but it was ticking all the boxes for me. One thing that Elise pointed out is that all of their champagnes are not extremely acidic but they are built to last. After that we moved onto the Grand Vintages. On hand we had the 2006, 1999 and 1985 in magnum. Of course the Grand Vintages are an expression of the year they come from so they will never be the same but the House still strives for their signature style.  Moët uses over 800 base wines for their Grand Vintages to get the right balance and age-ability. Moët also uses all 3 grapes of the region because as Elise said, they are blenders and each of the grapes are complimentary of the others. Pinot meunier in particular is important for Moët as it gives a freshness to the blend.

Moet line-up

Moet line-up

Since 1993, the House has also been aging a percentage of their Grand Vintages under cork so that they can do late disgorgement. They’ve found that crown cap is good for about 10 years but after that the wines begin to oxidize. Elise told us about Moët’s experimental lab where they are always working to find new processes and improvements. The latest to come from their lab, the process of “jetting”, is where just after disgorgement a drop of ‘liqueur’ is injected before the final dosage, the drop is very highly pressurized and dispels any oxygen that may get in between disgorgement and dosage. A pretty cool idea and one that is now used by many Champagne producers. I asked Elise about zero dosage and although she sees nothing wrong with them, for Moët it does not work in keeping with their house style. Moët has just launched the 2006 Grand Vintage and that was the first one we tried. I liked the 2006 very much, it was a difficult year, Elise said, and they had to be very precise in the picking of the grapes. It was a good year for chardonnay and that is apparent in the nose, quite floral with a savoury and complex palate. The ’99 had a similar profile to the 2006 and was an aromatic and powerful champagne, full of vanilla and butterscotch on the nose, creamy on the palate but fresh, having 31% pinot meunier in the blend. A finely balanced champagne and still having plenty of aging potential.

Elise and the 1985 in magnum

Elise and the 1985 in magnum

I love magnums and none more so than magnums of champagne. The 1985 was drinking very well that day. Speaking to Elise, the wine is one year older then her! How time flies. The 1985 was disgorged in 2002. A very complex nose – nutty and citrusy at the same time with hints of spices and smoke floating around. Tasting it, light and vibrant with great depth of flavour and a long finish. Supple but powerful at the same time with a gorgeous texture to it. A real delight. A lovely lunch with some great Champagnes. I certainly learned a fair bit about Moët’s champagnes and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them, especially the Grand Vintage but the Moët Imperial is also a champagne not to be sniffed at! And the food, by the way, was definitely enhanced by the champagne but to describe all that would take a whole other post…

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