WINELIFE recently visited home base Épernay and spoke to Benoît Gouez, head winemaker at Moët & Chandon. - TEXT HARALD KOLKMAN | IMAGE HARALD KOLKMAN + MOËT & CHANNON
Benoît Gouez, chief winemaker at Moët & Chandon
At the age of 16, Benoît Gouez, now head winemaker at Moët & Chandon, stayed one summer at his uncle's house in England. The uncle was staying in Tahiti that summer and Benoît was allowed to live in the house with some friends. The uncle had a large wine cellar under his house where bottles of Moët & Chandon were stored. One of the boys discovered the wine cellar and called the rest of the group to come and have a look. The way the English boys pronounced the French name, Benoît can remember like yesterday. 'It's not like I knew then that I would one day become a winemaker, but it is my oldest memory when it comes to wine,' Benoît laughs.
We speak to him at Château de Saran, a château in the village of Chouilly, near champagne capital Épernay. It was built in 1801 for Jean-Remy Moët, grandson of the founder of the castle's current owners: champagne house Moët & Chandon. We feel honoured, as the castle is only used to receive the most distinguished guests, we are told. But after all, we are also here for the presentation of the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2015, so all the stops are pulled out.
In 2005, Benoît Gouez started as cellar master at Moët & Chandon. He has since worked his way up to become the winery's chief winemaker. It is the contrast between technology, science and something intangible like taste that makes the world of wine so interesting to him. 'Every decision is like a blind tasting. I love that', said Benoît. 'Wine is a social and cultural product. You don't consume it, you share it.'
Want to know more about Benoît Gouez, head winemaker at Moët & Chandon? You can read about it in WINELIFE 80. You can order this one here!
Don't want to miss a single edition? Subscribe then subscribe to WINELIFE Magazine now!