Moët & Chandon has been known as the champagne of success and glamour since the House was founded in 1743. On September 5, 2011 it launched the House’s 270th anniversary celebrations with a Gala Dinner billed “Le Dîner du Siècle” or the Dinner of the Century in Shanghai, writes Reva K. Singh who was a guest at this prestigious event. Pictured are Bollywood star Abhay Deol and Moët muse, Scarlett Johansson
When the email first arrived, I could hardly believe it. Here was an invitation from Daniel Lalonde, President and CEO of Moët & Chandon, for a Gala “Tribute to the Spirit of 1743” in Shanghai. And to top it all, the email (in an under statement of the year,) noted, “Of particular interest to you would be the unveiling of the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 1911”. Wow!
It was, without a doubt, of the greatest interest to me. When was it, after all, that I had tasted a 100-year-old champagne from the best known Champagne House in the world? A dazzling wine and the stuff of legend.
This was a dinner invitation I couldn’t miss although I almost did, because of visa complications. The Chinese officials in Mumbai don’t trust journalists, it seems. In the event, my passport came back in the nick of time with the visa duly stamped. I had all of 24 hours to prepare for my departure. After this temporary hiccup, however, everything went like a dream because, as you will agree, the House of Moët & Chandon does not do anything by halves.
Known for its high style and flair, the Gala Dinner was hosted by Moët’s celebrity muse, actress Scarlett Johansson on the Roof Top Terrace of the Peninsula Shanghai overlooking the Bund, which was followed by an After Party at one of the city’s trendiest clubs – Bar Rouge. Prominent among the glamorous gathering of guests that evening from the worlds of fashion and cinema, was our very own Bollywood megha star, Abhay Deol whose most recent hit is Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
As guests arrived, the Peninsula’s rooftop was aglitter with 15,000 sparkling champagne glasses forming a dramatic backdrop for the elegantly laid out tables. The atmosphere was magical. We sat down to dinner with a menu specially created by French and Chinese Chefs to pair with the extraordinary Grand Vintage Champagne 1911, preceded by the no less pleasing, Grand Vintage 1988 and Grand Vintage 1988 Rosé (eight being a lucky number for the Chinese).
Pictured: Sujata Assomull, Editor, Harper’s Bazaar India, Gaurav Bhatia, Marketing Director, Moêt & Chandon, Abhay Deol and Reva K. Singh
During the course of the meal, a silent auction of an exquisite coffret of the Moët Grand Vintage 2011 was held, the proceeds of which will go to “The Nature Conservancy” organization. Along with its larger than life celebrations, Moët & Chandon is also known for its generosity and commitment to the community and concern for the environment.
Moët & Chandon arrived in China in 1843, exactly one century after the House was established. Considering its long time shared heritage, it was only fitting that it kick off its 270th anniversary celebrations (which will culminate in Epernay in 2013) with a Gala event in Shanghai. In the words of Daniel Lalonde, “A magnificent event deserves a magnificent champagne.” And so to mark this landmark, the rare 100-year-old Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 1911 featured as the toast of the evening.
There was still more of this superb Champagne being served at the After Party when I left around midnight, a-glow with the total experience, the glamour and the glitter and, of course, the legendary Grand Vintage 1911 from a year its winemaker called, ” Année Memorable”!
Look out for more on Moët’s Grand Vintage 1911 in the December edition of Sommelier India WINE. Subscribe now to ensure you don’t miss the issue. Ed.