Moët et Chandon is a producer of Champagne founded in 1743 by Claude Moët, a wine trader based in Epernay in the heart of the Champagne region. From the beginning, Claude understood the value of export markets, and began shipping his Champagne to Germany, Spain, and America. In 1792, Claude died, and left his company to his son, Jean-Rémy, who became mayor of Epernay in 1802, and met Napoleon in 1804.
Napoleon was impressed by his time with Jean-Rémy, giving him his Cross of the Legion of Honor. Moët became the fashionable place to visit on the way to Paris, and quickly became a supplier to many European royal courts, including Queen Victoria, the Duke of Buckingham, and Emperor Francis II of Austria.
In 1832, Jean-Rémy retired from the company and left it to his son Victor Moët and his son in law Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles. The company changed its name to Moët et Chandon, and went about expanding production and vineyard ownership, making their first vintage Champagne is 1842, and their Brut Imperial (named in honor of Napoleon) in 1862. By 1880, the company was selling two and a half million bottles of Champagne a year.
Both World Wars destroyed production facilities, slowed expansion, and devastated export markets for the company, but by 1950, Moët et Chandon had rebounded, modernizing their facilities. With new owner Count Robert-Jean de Vogüé, Moët et Chandon began to look outside the wine business for investment purposes, and in 1971 merged with the Hennessey cognac house to form Moët-Hennessey. In 1973, another merger took place with Louis Vuitton, and the luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton - Moët Hennessey (LVMH) was formed.
Today, Moët et Chandon produces over two million cases a year. They are famous for their prestige cuvee, Dom Perignon, named after a monk from the Abbey of Hautvilliers who helped understand the refermentation process that is crucial to the style of Champagne today. Dom Perignon is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir that has a low level (around 6 g/l) of dosage and spends a long time aging (the current release in 2011 is the 2002 vintage). Dom Perignon was first made in 1921, but not released into the market until 1936.
The most well known label from Moët et Chandon is now called Imperial, but for years was labelled White Star, mainly in export markets. Moët et Chandon makes Imperial and Rose Imperial, a demi-sec called Nectar Imperial and a Rose Nectar Imperial, a vintage Champagne called Grand Vintage and a Grand Vintage Rose, and their tete-de-cuvee, Dom Perignon and a Rose Dom Perignon.
Moët et Chandon also owns Domaine Chandon, a still and sparkling wine producer in Napa, California.
The proper pronunciation of Moët is to pronounce the "T" -- it's Mow-et.
Some popular cocktails containing Moet & Chandon
- Tequila Amargo — Reposado Tequila, Sweet vermouth, Marc de Champagne, Cassis, Bitters