Moët & Chandon, one of the most prestigious champagne brands since 1743, want you to commit an act of sacrilege -- they want you to put ice in their wine. While Dionysus clutches his pearls somewhere, let us explain. Moët Ice Imperial is the first champagne specifically designed to be sipped over cubes. Because this means that everything we thought we knew about drinking champagne is probably a lie, we asked Moët for some ground rules.
First off, here’s a little background on the good stuff
Champagne is pretty much made from a balanced combo of three grapes: reds pinot noir & pinot meunier, and white chardonnay. But Moët Ice Imperial consists of about 90% of the red blends -- for good reason. This gives the wine a rich flavor that can stand up to a bit of ice dilution, with just enough acidity from the chardonnay to keep it refreshing. The pinot noir lends fruity flavors, meunier gives it a rich mouthfeel, and the chardonnay brings acidity to the glass. Perfect harmony.
Here’s How You Should Be Drinking It
Rule 1: Stick it in a large glass
Because taste is like, 75% smell (we’re not scientists/mathematicians), the layers of aromatic flavors that make up Moët Ice Imperial deserve to be smelled properly. Which means go ahead and put away that champagne flute. Those skinny little things were designed to give drinkers a visual of champagne’s bubbly nature, but you’ll get a better whiff of your wine by using a large, wide brimmed glass. Also, obviously, flutes are pretty lousy at holding ice, so trade up and thank us later.
Rule 2: Use three ice cubes
Just because you can pour this wine over ice doesn’t mean you should fill your glass to the brim to create a murky champagne slushy. Three large cubes is the ideal amount to get the right ratio of water to wine. Your first sip will be fruity and intense, but you’ll get a more balanced flavor as the ice begins to melt (slowly enough to avoid immediately flushing your glass with excess water -- a little sacrilege is fine, but criminality is not).
Rule 3: Go ahead and garnish
Moët Ice Imperial naturally has notes of fruit that can be enhanced further by the flavors released through garnishes like mint leaves or lemon peels, while other champagnes might be overwhelmed. Throw in some raspberries, strawberries, or a slice of lemon and those flavors will make for some seriously aromatic summertime freshness.
Rule 4: Mix it in a cocktail
In most classic cocktails, champagne is really just used to add a bit of effervescence. But with a champagne like Moët Ice Imperial, where the flavors are strong enough to withstand a bit of dilution, the wine takes on a more central role. For example, if you’re drinking a French 75, the spirit and acidity will usually overpower the champagne -- but Moët Ice Imperial is bold enough to elegantly push back. And cocktails at brunch only get better too, now that they have the ability to withstand dilution from a few ice cubes. Finally, you won't have to worry about your drink getting warm/gross when you opt to sit outside.
Rule 5: Don’t be afraid of the sun
We probably have you on the ice thing -- you’re a convert. But maybe you’re still a little tentative about taking that iced champagne out of the shade and directly under the sun? Here’s the thing, though: this champagne was designed with hazy, scorching days in mind. It was actually inspired by the misguided attempts of St. Tropez vacationers to cool brut-champagne with ice and succeeding in only watering it down. It’s at its bubbly-best with the clink of ice and the condensation fogging up the glass. So the next time you’re squeezing in one last beach day, barbecue, or outdoor brunch, don’t be afraid to pop a bottle.