Amid news of Brexit, D-Day remembrances, and Prince Charles’ lecture on climate change, you may have seen the recent headlines regarding President Trump’s State Visit to the United Kingdom. A topic receiving less coverage, but one which played a key role in two official state dinners, was wine — the focus of this column and a nice respite from most of the reporting on the visit. Though it too was not immune from misreporting, aka “fake news.”
On June 3, the U.S. Delegation was hosted at Buckingham Palace for a lavish State dinner. While wine is grown throughout the UK, the temperate climate does not offer the variety of growing conditions other countries have. Sparkling wine, however, does thrive and the English love their “Fizz,” as it’s often referred to. So it was no surprise that they served the award-winning Windsor Great Park Vineyard, 2014. It’s a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier and 35% Pinot Noir. It retails for about $45.
Windsor Great Park Vineyard, 2014: blend of 55% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier and 35% Pinot Noir. It retails for about $45.
The English have a long history with the French, and love two things about them: their sunshine and their wines. So it was not a surprise that they went to Burgundy for the white and Bordeaux for the red.
The Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 2014, from Domaine Duc de Magenta Monopole Clos de la Chappelle – Louis Jadot, is a 90 point wine and retails around $80 dollars a bottle in California. It would have paired nicely with the steamed halibut starter (and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the breadth and depth available in the royal cellar).
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 2014, from Domaine Duc de Magenta Monopole Clos de la Chappelle – Louis Jadot, is a 90 point wine and retails around $80 dollars a bottle in California.
The Bordeaux served was from perhaps the most famous left bank vineyard: Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, 1990 1st Cru Classe, Pauillac. This is a 94-point wine that can retail for a small fortune, and even while prices can vary, let’s guess it was $1,000 a bottle. (This certainly looks impressive, but feels like they were clearing out some wine from a more average year.) Thomas Jefferson is often mentioned as a lover of these wines, so it’s a Presidential tradition. However, the current President is not known to consume alcohol.
Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, 1990 1st Cru Classe, Pauillac — a 94-point wine that can retail around $1,000 a bottle
The following night the President hosted a dinner to honor The Prince of Wales (not Whales!) and The Duchess of Cornwall (aka Charles and Camilla), and the Daily Mail and other news outlets reported the United States reciprocated by serving $30 bottles of California Pinot. A tiny bit of effort in looking at the menu would have revealed that this was, in fact, fake news. What was served was an Iron Horse 2016 Heart of the Vineyard Chardonnay retailing at $54 a bottle and the Iron Horse 2016 North Block Pinot Noir that sells for $85. And finally, with dessert they served Iron Horse 2005 Brut Reserve “Joy” where magnums go for $275, per the Iron Horse website.
Iron Horse 2016 Heart of the Vineyard Chardonnay retails at $54 a bottle and the Iron Horse 2016 North Block Pinot Noir that sells for $85. Iron Horse 2005 Brut Reserve “Joy,” where magnums go for $275.
While the American selections did not have the star power of the Queen’s cellar, they are all terrific, even if the news was not reporting them thusly. One side note: while UK taxpayers foot the Queen’s budget, including her wines, U.S. ambassadors, while they receive a budget, fund much of the entertaining at their residences out of pocket. Big appointments go to the well-connected and well-heeled.
Enjoy your next wine adventure.
Joe Linhares lives in London. He is a Bay Area native, former resident of Piedmont, and longtime lover of wines.