Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Raoul Chandon

Rosé Champagnes have been recently in season. The Moët & Chandon NV Brut Impérial Rosé Champagne is an attractive package that doesn't disappoint, except perhaps in the paleness of its color. The flavors that struck me most were those of tart strawberries, lemons and yeast. At about $36 a bottle, it's a safe bet for a romantic date. Be careful when sabering this one, it has a tendency to fracture. Claude Moët began shipping still wines from Champagne to Paris in 1743, but it was Claude's grandson, Jean-Rémy Chandon who built the business, developing clients such as Jefferson and Napoleon. Claude's son Victor and his son-in-law Comte (Count) Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles took over the business from Claude in 1832 and released their first "vintage" dated wine in 1842. However, it was the innovative use of sulfur dioxide and grafting to American root-stock (both projects of Comte Raoul Chandon de Briailles) that saved Moët & Chandon from the devastating effects of phylloxera and mildew in the late 1880s.

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