'Gatsby' soaked with Moet Champagne; what bubbly expert Tom Stevenson has to say

Moet's famous 1921 vintage of the Brut Imperial is featured in "The Great Gatsby." (Image courtesy of NIKE Communications)

A flapper with a 15-liter bottle of Moet’s famous 1921 vintage of the Brut Imperial stands atop a tower of Champagne glasses in “The Great Gatsby.” (Image courtesy of Nike Communications)

The famous, well-connected and “people who just went” could dance and drink till dawn at Jay Gatsby’s weekend  parties to lure Daisy Buchanan to his over-the-top estate in West Egg, Long Island.

The latest movie remake of “The Great Gatsby,” based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is the ultimate canvas for producers Baz Luhrmann and wife Catherine Martin, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher and Joel Edgerton, to re-create this classic piece of American literature set in the 1920s during Prohibition.

The movie delivers all the extravagance and noise of the Roaring Twenties pumped up like only Luhrmann and Martin can do it.

Party scenes erupt with wild dance, blasting music, confetti and fireworks — all swimming in Champagne.

Bottles of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial are strewn everywhere — some are as big as people.

What a backdrop for the largest, most famous Champagne house in the world and what a time in the winery’s own history.

Fitzgerald set his story in the summer of 1922, literally months after Moet harvested and fermented what some consider to be the best Moet wine of all time — the 1921 vintage, which would give birth to the winery’s famous prestige cuvee, Dom Perignon.

Set designers picked up on the importance of this rare vintage and Moet re-created the label for the movie, though in reality, the 1921 would still have been in Moet’s cellars in 1922 and would not be shipped to New York for years.

Who better to comment on the Moet wines of this era than the world’s leading authority on Champagne, British wine writer Tom Stevenson, who has tasted the 1921 and older vintages.

Stevenson in emails had this to say of Moet’s 1921 Brut Imperial:

“I’ve tasted it several times, and I’m on record as describing it as the greatest vintage Moet has ever produced. It’s the same wine used for the first vintage of Dom Perignon, transvasaged into replica 18th century bottles and shipped to New York in 1936.”

I asked Stevenson about other vintages of Moet Imperial in that period.

Tom Stevenson

Tom Stevenson

“The 1911 and 1914 were probably as great, certainly the 1914 was, and that has a story to tell, as much of the crop had to be harvested from No Man’s Land (during World War I) between the trenches, so they sent out children as they would be smaller targets, and more than 20 little boys paid with their lives. I tasted the 1911 at Moet in 2011 and it was extraordinarily good, still with some mousse.”

If you keep your eye primed, you will see bottles of Moet’s Dom Perignon in the 1974 “Gatsby” starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

So now you know how I spent my weekend, old sport: I watched the DiCaprio film followed by the Robert Redford film and read the book twice.


Moet and Chandon Grand Vintage 2004 Brut Rose, $80

Exciting, palate-tingling — a romance of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. This aged Champagne from France’s top sparkling house glimmers in its chic coppery pink color. The aromas are dark cherry, black currant and blackberry. On the palate, it’s dry, toasty, and packed with flavors that coat the midpalate and linger on the finish, which is dry and tart. Study the wine as the fine bubbles erupt from the point in your glass flute and break the surface creating circles of tiny beads. This wine was aged seven years in the bottle and then six months more after it was disgorged. Moet calls it “voluptuous, playful, delicate.”

Contact Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.