Bangkok Post reviews
Vault of vaunted vintages
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: June 28, 2013 at 8:21 am
The Moet & Chandon Grand Cellar brings a taste of the Champagne region to Bangkok with Asia's first cellar dining room
The dining room inside The Moet & Chandon Grand Cellar.
Moet & Chandon, one of the world's largest and most prominent champagne brands distributed by Diageo Moet Hennessy in Thailand, evokes the classic atmosphere of the original Moet & Chandon cellar in France's Champagne region in Bangkok with Asia's first underground cellar dining room _ "The Moet & Chandon Grand Cellar".
Located on the underground floor of Cellar 11 Wine Bar & Bistro on Sukhumvit Soi 11, this new cellar dining room takes inspiration from the original, 28km-long Moet & Chandon cellar built 300 years ago in the middle of Epernay, France _ duplicating its raw, underground atmosphere, bringing the fermentation process to show with a rare riddling rack as a centrepiece. Inside, there's only one long dining table for a maximum of 12 guests. Decorating the dining room's walls are vintage pictures of Emperor Napoleon as well as those of the Moet family.
The 28km-long Moet & Chandon cellar is the the essential part in the production of Champagne as the secondary fermentation which produces natural bubbles must be done in this cellar where the temperature is a constant 10-12C all-year round. The longer the process, the better the taste. These bubbles reflect the premium quality of Champagne's taste and help transfer the flavour, scent and texture of Champagne to the ones who sip it.
As a closed friend of the family, Emperor Napoleon paid three visits to the cellar during his reign, and the Moet family was so grateful to him that they named one of their most iconic Champagnes "Imperial".
Moet & Chandon Imperial has been fermented for three full years (to make non-vintage champagne, it must be fermented at least 15 months according to regulation). As for Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage, it takes seven years to ferment it (vintage Champagne must be fermented at least three years). To mark the grand opening of this cellar dining room, a special "Grande Emperor" dinner was co-hosted by the Champagne house and Cellar 11 to showcase a gourmet menu designed to match with each flavour of Moet & Chandon Champagne.
From left, Christopher Kennedy, marketing director, Moet Hennessy (Thailand), Sirigunya Yukphaen, Moet & Chandon brand manager, Keerati Prasanthai, chairman of the Board of Cellar 11 Wine Bar & Bistro, and Ittichai Benjathanasombat, managing director of Cellar 11 Wine Bar & Bistro.
The starter, a trio of oysters _ Fine de Claire from Brittany, pink oyster from Southern France and Kumamoto oyster from California _ was served with the elegant Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, a soft and balanced Champagne with a zingy twist of lemony citrus. This richly flavoured and smooth Champagne, made with the three main varieties of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, offers a delicately fresh crispiness on the palate and perfectly complimented the oyster trio.
Next was the roasted Toulouse duck breast and steamed gizzard served with organic salad, Sunquick orange and sweetened tomato topped with orange sauce. The radiant, seductive pink Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial was well chosen to accompany this delicious duck dish. A fresh rose, it displayed a lively, intense bouquet of red berries, floral nuances of rose, with a slight hint of pepper. On the palate, it is deep, medium-bodied, with perfect balance and a long classy finish.
The main course, pan-seared Canadian lobster with white Peruvian asparagus, pink radish, micro salad and Beluga caviar light cream sauce, was cleverly paired with the majestic Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002. This gold-coloured Champagne is the 69th vintage in the Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage collection, released since 1842.
Unlike most Champagnes, Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage are made from the grapes of a single exceptional year. Each Grand Vintage is unique, possessing the distinctive, inimitable qualities of that year's outstanding grapes, qualities which have been elevated to their fullest expression through the experience and expertise of winemakers.
With only 5.5g of sugar, Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 possesses a unique fruity scent of pear, orange, plum, nectarine and white peach.
Upon sipping, it offers an intense, yet very soft touch of its taste with refreshing notes of rhubarb, quinine and citrus blended perfectly together.The dinner happily ended with the classic French-style dessert, warm apple tart with vanilla ice cream, made from fresh sweet and sour green apple with butter and cinnamon.
"This cellar dining room will bring Champagne admirers in Thailand closer to the origin of Moet & Chandon," said Sirigunya Yukphaen, Moet & Chandon brand manager. "And to mark this opening, we offer Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 at a special price of 5,600 baht, available only at Cellar 11 Wine Bar & Bistro."