Moët & Chandon's Elise Losfelt Talks Champagne & Truffle Fries
Winemaker Elise Losfelt of Moët & Chandon, the world's leading Champagne house since 1743, visited Houston this past week and sat down with the Houston Press to discuss their champagnes, and to introduce the Grand Vintage 2006, which is now available in the United States. She also has a few tips for beginning champagne drinkers.
Photo by Molly Dunn Elise Losfelt is one of ten winemakers at Moët & Chandon.
Losfelt is one of ten winemakers at Moët & Chandon and is part of the team that controls the quality of every champagne produced from their vineyards. If you have ever had a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne, it was most likely the Moët Imperial, their flagship champagne.
The Moët Imperial is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, but because the weather varies in the Champagne region during the harvest months (April to September) affecting the consistency, quality and taste of the grapes, Losfelt explains that Moët & Chandon embraces "the art of blending." Their champagne is created from the three previously mentioned grapes sourced from different areas in the Champagne region gathered over a span of three years.
Photo by Molly Dunn Moet Imperial is a great Champagne for beginners.
"Whenever and wherever you buy your bottle of Moët Imperial, you will have exactly the same experience. This is the main idea. If you go tomorrow to buy a bottle of Moët Imperial you will have exactly the same experience. And this is what we guarantee as winemakers: That you have the quality and the same style wherever, whenever; in one year, in two years, tomorrow, in another place, exactly the same experience," Losfelt says. "From different villages within the Champagne region, from different grapes. And also using different years. In another way, there's no recipe for Moët Imperial. Everything is based on our tasting abilities as winemakers to make sure that when we take the decision of a new blend from Moët Imperial it will be in the line of the consistency of all the other bottles of Moët Imperial that have been produced."
She describes this champagne as having a firework effect in your mouth; the second you take a sip, the bubbles explode on your tongue, but slowly fizzle away. It's bright, crisp and fresh, making it an excellent starting point for champagne novices. There is no exact formula for creating the Moët Imperial's blend, but it consists of a large third of Pinot Noir, a normal third of Pinot Meunier and a small third of Chardonnay.
At Moët & Chandon, Losfelt also works with the chefs to come up with food and champagne pairings.
Photo by Mai Pham Pair a Moët Imperial with truffle fries from Bernie's Burger Bus.
"As it is a Brut Champagne, it means it is an unsweet champagne; as an unsweet champagne, it pairs with salty dishes," Losfelt says. "Some of the really fun food pairings you can do with your Moët Imperial... you can have it with French fries; truffle French fries are really amazing with this champagne. Anything that is oily and salty at the same time is great with champagne. Like fried chicken is crazy with champagne."
Slightly aged goat cheese, a hard Parmesan, or firm Gouda also pair well with the Moët Imperial. For a meal, try a citrus-marinated ceviche or fish.