As described in Moët & Chandon and its Australian protégée, I recently compared Moët non vintage Brut Impérial with the current range of sparkling wines made by its Australian outpost Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley. These are sold as Domaine Chandon in Australia but use the name Green Point in other markets such as the UK – and presumably the US if they are ever to be found there so as not to be mistaken for the (generally less vivid) products of Domaine Chandon in the Napa Valley.
The upshot was that the current Green Point Vintage Brut 2004 is excellent value, and especially useful for those who have to supply copious amounts of fizz to friends who aren’t champagne snobs. It is the wine I routinely recommend to friends and family for parties and large receptions.
The reason I was particularly interested in Green Point/Domaine Chandon(Australia)/Dr Tony Jordan Fiefdom at this point however is that it has recently introduced stainless steel crown caps for its entire range of fizz. This makes life much easier when opening multiple bottles (so long as you have an opener), and represents a new example of antipodean measures to reduce the possibility of cork taint. They cleverly introduced it for vintage dated wines first so as to make quite clear that this was no penny-pinching move, and have made somehow it look smart with a paper strip over the top – not mention their disgorging key for getting the crown cap off, so much smarter than a beer bottle opener, my dear. I would love to be a fly on the wall for discussions of this new closure between arch-technocrat Tony Jordan who heads LVMH’s operations in Australia and New Zealand and his masters in Epernay.
Of course practically all sparkling wine, including champagne, is aged under crown cap and given its cork stopper only at the final disgorging process just before release. Already Australian wine New Zealand sparkling wine producers are moving to crown caps, but it seems much less likely elsewhere. It is generally thought that the pop of the cork is even more important to the glamour of champagne than to the excitement of opening a bottle of still wine. Imagine a victorious Lewis Hamilton being handed a beer bottle opener on the winner’s plinth… I think it may be a while before we see Moët sold under crown cap – however much winemakers like to eliminate the possibility of any natural cork-related bottle variation such as that notoriously associated with TCA.