The pre-apéritif-apéritif….

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Moet ambienceThere’s definitely some change a foot in the wine world but I’m yet to put my finger on it. For starters the last two wine events I’ve been to didn’t have a white clothed trestle table in sight. You see! Take Moët and Chandon who this week launched a ‘ground breaking new champagne’. The biggest Champagne brand sold in the UK in terms of volume, loved and loathed in equal measures by the wine trade for its success and longevity as much as for its sheer volume of sales. And it’s now loved and loathed by me for its ability to bring a slice of St Tropez chic to a noisy roof terrace overlooking Hyde Park Corner as much as for its creative use of the term ground breaking. I bring you Moët Ice Impérial: the world’s first champagne specifically designed to be served over ice.

Described as a blend created for a new champagne experience it’s been designed to encourage consumers to be more casual with Champagne “… to create a different mood”. It’s a more concentrated blend that shouldn’t be drunk straight up, Benoît Gouez told us, Moët’s Chef de Cave. Take 3 cubes of ice in a bowl shaped wine glass, a few mint leaves, fresh raspberries and some orange rind. Et voila.

Yes, Moët’s Ice Impérial is the sort of champagne perfect for relaxing after a hard day’s sunning on the beach and before retiring to get ready for dinner. Let’s call it a pre-apéritif-apéritif. The sort of no hassle, refreshing pick-me-up you need as you sit casually admiring your tan with your friends, à la plage…. ah it sounds nice. You pull out your bottle of Ice Impérial from your bag and everyone is salivating at the idea of the cork going pop when you turn to Jean-Claude who shrugs when you ask for the ice and Xavier who looks bemused when you jest for the Chianti shaped glasses. And Françoise won’t even look you in the eye as you notice the raspberry stain still fresh on the side of her lip. Elodie, who you can always rely on, passes you a few sprigs of mint that now resemble soggy seaweed and you realise that that you’re left with a bottle of wine that’s only good enough to appreciate when poured as the perfect serve. Not feeling so summery and casual anymore!

Moet quoteFor us lucky few on the roof terrace in Hyde Park we were, of course, presented with the perfect serve and we discovered for ourselves that Benoît was not wrong. The wine was refreshing, not to fruity, not too complex, in fact it lived up to its casual billing so much so that even the bubbles seemed relaxed!

So, yes, I’m all in favour of a pre-apéritif-apéritif, and I love the fact that Benoît can keep a straight face when he says that his ground breaking blend is not a gimmick…. As for me however if I’m going to put ice, fruit, and mint in a drink I think I’ll opt for a more budget friendly glass of Pimms….


Moët’s Ice Impérial will be available in selected bars across the South Coast of England and at the new Madison One New Change, London’s biggest public roof terrace which opens this month.

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