1959 marked the first time that Dom Perignon Rose was produced. Never commercially released to market, the near majority of the production (either 306 bottles or 863 magnums, depending on sources) went exclusively to the Shah of Iran to be served to his 600 guests at the opening night of his celebrations to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire. The event, held between October 14th and 16th 1971, and billed as ‘The greatest party in the world’ took more than a decade to plan and orchestrate. Given that the planning went as far back as the year of the vintage, it is likely that the Rose was initially undertaken as a request to create a unique blend/bottling for this special event.
The spectacular wine list from the first evening included the 1911 ‘Champagne riot’ vintage of Moet, Haut-Brion Blanc 1964 and Lafite Rothschild 1945. The Dom Rose was kept back to pair with the dessert of glazed Oporto ring of fresh figs, with a cream and raspberry champagne sherbet. Dinner took over five and a half hours to complete, and film director Orson Welles said of the event “This was no party of the year, it was the celebration of 25 centuries”! In a rare tasting note for this wine, it was described as having delicate bread and caramel to the nose, with white chocolate, minerals and richness on the palate.
The first ever public sale of the 1959 Rose (which was disgorged in March 1969) came in April 2008 when auction house Acker Merrall & Condit listed two bottles, obtained from the Champagne-loving real estate executive Robert A. Rosania. The astonishing winning bid was $84,700 against an estimate of ($5,000-$7,000) and the wine remains an enigma: one that Dom Perignon winemaker Richard Geoffroy describes as a ‘rare, superlative, mythical vintage’. He also confirmed that the Moet cellars only hold a handful of bottles of this rare wine.