Moet & Chandon
Moët & Chandon is easily the most famous house in the region of Champagne. It is one of the largest too, comprising 1150 hectares (2850 acres) of estate vineyards plus more from growers, 17 miles (28km) of cellars and a production capacity of 60 million bottles a year.
The house was founded by Claude Moët in 1743. However, his grandson, Jean-Remy Moët, is credited with having brought Champagne to a wider audience and, by 1789, the house was recognized both domestically and internationally. In the 1970s and '80s, Moët & Chandon expanded its empire beyond Champagne, partnering first with Cognac house Hennessy and then with fashion giant Louis Vuitton, forming Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, or LVMH. Today, the group owns several other famous wine brands, including Krug and Veuve Clicquot in Champagne, Château Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux, and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand.
Moët's house style is fresh and fruit-forward, and the brut non-vintage is dominated by Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with a smaller amount of Chardonnay. Grapes are drawn from 800 different parcels from 230 of the villages in Champagne. This wide range of terroirs to draw from means that blenders have more control over the finished wine, and despite the massive output every year, Moët's wines are very consistent. The majority of processes in the winery are controlled by machine, which is unsurprising given the scale of production.
Moët & Chandon's range is straightforward, comprising of non vintage brut, rosé and demi sec, as well as vintage brut and rosé offerings. Their prestige cuvée is the iconic Dom Pérignon, although over time this has come to be seen as a separate entity, in much the same spirit as Opus One.
The house has expanded far outside of Champagne, and is currently making sparkling wines in California, Argentina, Brazil and Australia under the Chandon label. Most recently, Moët & Chandon has acquired vineyards in India and China, where they are also finding new markets.