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Wine Spectator Score: 92 Open Wine Spectator Score: rating modal
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Wine Spectator reviews over 15,000 wines each year in blind tastings, using stringent standards; they rely on their proven ability and experience as tasters and critics. Each review has detailed tasting notes and drinking recommendations.

Created in 1869 to celebrate the centennial of Napoleon Bonaparte's birth, Moët and Chandon's Brut Impérial was an immediate hit and it wasn't long until it became the best-selling Champagne in the world. Normally big brand Champagnes are not a focus of ours, but at a recent Holiday gathering we were a bit shocked by the quality of this popular bubbly. It was a seductive, easy drinker as always but the fruit showed more fidelity and brightness than we remembered while the finish was drier and snappier. Out of curiosity we made some inquiries and learned that this bottling has undergone a welcome transformation in recent years. This considerable improvement is reflected in this latest review by the Wine Spectator's Alison Napjus.

WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "An elegant version, fine and creamy in texture and backed by lively, orange peel acidity. A streak of smoke-tinged minerality underscores flavors of almond madeleine, poached pear, anise and preserved lemon. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Drink now."

One of the men most responsible for Brut Impérial's evolution is Benoît Gouez who has been Moët's chef de cave since 2005. Gouez explains 'We have worked on the preparation of our ferments to provide the right level of oxygenation...This reduces reductive flavors allowing room for the expression of precision and cleanliness of the fruit...Lower dosage allows us to be more precise at every stage, in everything we do.' This Brut Impérial was disgorged with seven grams dosage (representing a reduction of around 50% in the last 20 years) and it contains an unusually high proportion of reserve wines, a feature which is made possible by Moët's recent expansion of their storage capacity. It is now a blend of more than 100 different wines (20-30% Chardonnay, 30-40% Pinot Noir, and 30-40% Meunier) aged for 24 months on the lees. As Benoît says, 'The goal is to use as may wines as possible in the blend. The more you blend the more harmony you can create-this is the basis of the consistency of Brut Impérial.' The enormous scale and complexity of this iconic cuvée makes its positive evolution all the more remarkable.
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