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On Monday 5 September in Shanghai, Moët & Chandon laid on a special party that buried, at least for 24 hours, all notions of global recession and financial rectitude. Square Meal was there in the company of CEO Daniel Lalonde and Moët muse, Scarlett Johansson – our cover star for the autumn issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.
The dîner du siècle was held on the Shanghai Peninsula’s breathtaking rooftop overlooking the Bund, where the futuristic Pudong skyline was transformed into a fantasy palace constructed entirely of champagne flutes. The 100 guests were served with the finest food, matched with aged wines from Moët’s enviable Grand Vintage Collection, and right on cue our Hollywood icon – dressed in Marc Jacobs – simply fizzed with vivacity and effortless glamour.
But the real star of the evening was Moët’s 1911 Grand Vintage which was served, alongside the 1988 Grand Vintage and the 1988 Grand Vintage Rosé – all part of the unrivalled, 69-vintage-strong Grand Vintage Collection. The 1911, which was paired with a complex pork dish and a steamed Seven Star Garoupa fish laden with truffles, was the product of ‘a phenomenal year’, according to Delalonde. He said that growing conditions were perfect in 1911 and even at the time the wine was described as ‘beyond compare’.
The 1911 was certainly no curiosity wine past its best; it was exquisitely satisfying, full of life, layers and libido, with a surprising amount of fruit as well as earthy notes of truffle, mushroom and tobacco, and a faint smokiness. Benoit Gouez, Moët’s charismatic chef de cave, who had disgorged the wine in January 2011, pointed out the candied citrus fruits, honey and mocha of the wine, as well as its supple, smooth texture and very discreet bubbles.
At the end of the evening, Johansson presented a case of six bottles of the 1911 Grand Vintage to a Chinese bidder who had pledged $100,000 at an auction the weekend before, with all proceeds going to the Nature Conservancy’s environmental work in China.
Somewhat closer to home, a rare case of the Grand Vintage 1911 will be exclusively available in Harrods from November onwards.