Wine of the Day: Moet and Chandon Grand Vintage 2004; Edmeades Zin a classic

Moet and Chandon Chef de Cave Benoit Gouez. (Image courtesy of Moet and Chandon)

Moet and Chandon Chef de Cave Benoit Gouez. (Image courtesy of Moet and Chandon)


Moet and Chandon Grand Vintage Brut 2004, $70

This sparkling wine from France is more than a wine of the day, it’s a wine of the century; it’s an event. This is the 70th Grand Vintage to be released by Moet since the first one in 1842, and it truly is a beauty. It has subtle power, depth of flavor, complexity. It’s a finely constructed balancing act of acidity, fruit and alcohol. It’s so dry, so crisp, so minerally. The bouquet is white peach, lemon, pineapple. It’s herbal, yeasty and floral. In the mouth, the structure is lean and tangy, graceful and delicate.

The wine is not only an expression of the fabulous 2004 vintage, which was large and high quality, but also the artistry of Chef de Cave Benoit Gouez. A Grand Vintage is only released in remarkable years, and the Champagne region’s harvest in 2004 got an A on Wine Spectator’s vintage report card.

Moet calls the making of this wine a “balance between tradition and innovation.” The assemblage of the three varietals in the wine — Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay — relies more on the quality of the fruit than accepted convention. It’s the chief winemaker’s call — and the aging has been extended. The 2004 Grand Vintage wine was aged in Moet’s cellars for seven years.

The eye-catching front label has “2004” written in large, chalky, handwritten-like numbers — as if the chef de cave penned it himself.

The Champagne was released in January in the U.S. and is in all 50 states now. Moet’s SRP for the wine is $65, but I can promise it will cost more.

>> See reviews of the Moet and Chandon NV Imperial Brut and Imperial Brut Rose.

>> Read an interview with Moet’s Marc Brevot on making the Imperial Brut.


Edmeades Zinfandel Mendocino County 2010, $20

Love Zinfandel? This one’s different. Edmeades Zinfandel is an iconic wine with a unique personality. It’s got the jammy, sassy, spicy slam of Zinfandel with a full-fledged orchestra backing it up — think 11 percent Syrah and 10 percent Petite Sirah! This baby can play a piano! It’s got big fruit, it’s got oak, it’s got alcohol, it’s lush. The unusual combination works — it’s a powerful, elegant blend. Aromas are “ripe cherries, blueberries, cocoa powder and graham crackers” to borrow winemaker Ben Salazar’s words. On the palate, it has breadth and texture. It’s aged 16 months in 48 percent French oak barrels and 52 percent American — 20 percent of which is new. The winery was the first to break ground in Anderson Valley in modern times. Dr. Donald Edmeades, a cardiologist, planted the vines in the 1960s and launched the brand in 1972. Jess Jackson bought it in 1988 and totally retooled and replanted the estate.

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