“Even I haven’t slept in the Chateau!” Niel Hendriksz, Moët Hennessy Portfolio Ambassador surprisingly commented as I volunteered details of my recent visit to Cognac, France.
Indeed, it was special. Once in a lifetime special, especially since I slept at the magnificent Château de Bagnolet, built in 1810 on the banks of the Charente, the former Hennessy family home.
And that’s the thing with luxury brands, it’s the unforgettable experiences and their ability to make you feel special that wins your heart and loyalty. Even in Kenya, far from France where it all started, brands from the LVMH group, which has a portfolio of over 60 luxury brands, knows how to make one feel special.
Ahead of Wednesday’s official launch of Moët & Chandon Nectar Imperial in East Africa, a select few enjoyed an exclusive champagne tasting, in the presence of Niel Hendriksz, at the fittingly chosen venue, Sankara Hotel’s The Champagne Bar, on Tuesday.
Sampling the iconic champagne of Moët & Chandon that was created in 1869, Imperial Brut, and the Nectar, which will be available in Kenya starting today; Hendriksz, in true champagne fashion, elegantly guided us through the technicalities of producing one of the world’s most loved drinks and the uniqueness of the newest entrant in the Kenyan market.
“The Nectar is a Demi-Sec champagne, which has a higher dosage, or more sugar content. But unlike other champagne houses, instead of just adding sugar, Moët & Chandon creates a different wine all together.” Hendriksz further explains, “There’s more Pinot Noir and less Chardonnay.”
For the Nectar, the Pinot Noir gives the champagne the body and intensity, whilst the producers only use the sweetest of juices from handpicked grapes for a more rounded fruitiness with subtle tropical fruit notes.
The dosage of the Nectar is boosted by adding small amounts of reserve wine, which annually, Moët & Chandon produces more than 800 different types, and sweet liqueur – ensuring that the resulting champagne maintains an elegant maturity and seductive palate, or as Hendriksz calls it, “a lovely creamy mouthful.”
Happily, Hendriksz shared that his personal favourite champagne was Moët & Chandon’s 2003 Vintage. The year 2003 was a particular difficult harvest with producers having to pick the grapes earlier than usual, which resulted in slightly sweeter wines and a Vintage that was bolder in flavour – something special.
Moët & Chandon Nectar Imperial is the fastest growing champagne in Nigeria and South Africa, probably because consumers realize that it too, is something special.
Will Kenya see the Nectar Imperial as special? I’ll leave it to your palates.