A self-confessed oenophile, Daniel Lalonde, President and CEO, Moët & Chandon, waxes lyrical about the brand’s unparalleled heritage and its sparkling future.
From sporting triumphs, to christening ships, to prestigious film festivals or even royal weddings, this effervescent gold liquid is the universal symbol of celebration. The ubiquitous tipple of choice, champagne’s iconic celebratory status can be attributed mostly to the efforts of the world’s leading champagne house, Moët & Chandon, owned by luxury goods conglomerate, Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH). In the words of its President and CEO, Daniel Lalonde, Moët & Chandon is unlike any other luxury brand. And he would know, having previously served as CEO of LVMH Watch and Jewelry and later, as President and CEO of Louis Vuitton North America.
“Moët & Chandon is a House with 300 years of brand savvy, a rare and exceptional heritage, and a rich history of legendary leadership. [It is] a House with savoir-faire that creates champagne—something that people share for the most special moments in their lives, all around the world.”
Since its inception in 1743 by Claude Moët, Moët & Chandon has earned itself the prestigious title of leading producer of premium champagne. Lalonde shares, “Each of our champagnes has its own special place, from the exceptional Grand Vintage Collection to the legendary Moët Rosé Impérial.” But their quintessential champagne is the iconic Moët & Chandon Impérial. It was in 1863 that Moët & Chandon adopted the trademark ‘Impérial’, as a tribute to its earliest and one of its most celebrated patrons, Napoleon.
Lalonde adds, “It’s a champagne for every occasion, and it is the most emblematic expression of the Moët & Chandon style.” The House continues to break new ground in the field of oenology, affecting a fine balance between centuries-old legacy and innovation. Lalonde explains, “We recently launched Moët Ice Impérial, which is the world’s first-ever champagne specifically developed to be enjoyed on ice.” Champagne on ice? This rather non-traditional way of sipping champagne is perfect for daytime celebrations in international hotspots. Lalonde asserts, “It is a new way to drink champagne, and is faithful to the House’s tradition of innovation.”
Of course, any talk of Moët’s exceptional heritage is incomplete without at least a mention of its vineyards. Spread over 1,200 hectares—the largest holdings in the Champagne region—are the very best of grapes and terroir that the region has to offer. Then there are the famous Moët cellars—a winding maze, almost 30 km long, dating back to the 1700s—and home to some of the most famed vintage wines. One such vintage is the Grand Vintage 1911, a truly rare wine of legend. Protected from excessive oxidation, the wine was conserved for 100 years under optimum aging conditions in the House’s fabled vintage cellars—Grand Vintage Reserve. Lalonde proudly states, “It is one of our most distinguished champagnes, so much so that it holds our rarely-bestowed description: inclassifiable, or unclassifiable. That’s to say, it is so incomparably excellent that it is a category all its own.” Of course, to share the splendour of this rare centenarian champagne, Moët & Chandon held a globally synchronised charity auction on November 11, 2011 in 11 international cities.
And in a nod to the House’s commitment to serving the community, the proceeds will be donated to local charities. Today, the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection includes 68 vintages from across the ages, dating back to 1842—the largest collection in the world. Lalonde adds, “Moët & Chandon’s vintage champagnes are the essence of a single year, and together form the most important
collection of vintages in the world. From the harvest, to the assemblage and even the historic highlights that shaped that year, the Moët Grand Vintages each tell a unique story.” The power to declare a harvest vintage rests with their Chef de Cave and is based on his interpretation of the harvest.
Patrons Over Time
Over the years, from nobility to notable personalities, Moët & Chandon has acquired legions of admirers for its grandeur and prized offerings. In 2009, Scarlett Johansson was named as the muse of the brand. Lalonde explains this glamourous association, “Scarlett Johansson is Moët & Chandon’s brand ambassador because she perfectly embodies the success and glamour that define the maison. Her performances transform everyday experiences into intense emotions and create iconic moments to be shared. The most recent advertising campaign starring Johansson was shot by renowned British photographer Tim Walker during Moët & Chandon’s ‘Tribute to Heritage’ celebration. The three visuals depict Scarlett at Trianon, the Moët family home in Epernay, France. The romantic motifs and images perfectly embody the glamour and grandeur inherent to both Scarlett and Moët.” Lalonde concludes, “The idea of celebration is a global one. Moët & Chandon is a symbol of glamourous celebration, of sharing successful moments and marking important achievements.” And it is this notion that resonates in cultures around the world.
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