On Him Be Pleased To Pour
While we hear all too often about the horse that made an entrance to a certain nightclub in New York, we don’t hear about the horse that made its way into the coronation of King James II. Some argue that we are living in the best conditions that human beings have ever experienced, but at this particular coronation, in 1685, the list for the feast of James II was so long and exotic, you can get indigestion just reading it. The spectacle was meticulously recorded by Francis Sandford, the Lancaster Herald at arms. A total of 1,445 dishes were served, including “24 puffins, 12 lobsters, 12 leverets and, to finish, 3 dozen glasses of bla-mange”. The wine list was — how shall I put it — extensive. Where am I going with this? Well, we just don’t party like we used to. Unless you belong to a social circle that favours events such as hunt balls, things have got a little tame. As is proper, the royal family follows suit. It used to be that the monarchy’s greatest attribute was its enigmatic character, but then along came television, the BBC, Netflix, and Prince Harry’s ongoing melodrama. Where does that leave us regarding celebrations for the coronation — and, most importantly, how will they be celebrating?
It’s unlikely we will find out exactly what wine is used in toasts to the King and Queen Consort. Still, the coronation provides the perfect excuse for a knees-up at home, so here is our timetable of wines to get you through the coronation weekend... Excuse the predictability, but you ought to kick things off with some champagne. We are going to be traditional to the core and say stick with Pol Roger. We know that Pol was served on June 22, 1911 for the coronation of George V, and that Pol first received a royal warrant in 1877, for the royal household of Queen Victoria. So it seems right that we follow suit, and as we have an early start, I would recommend the Réserve, because going vintage this early in the day will have you on the whisky by lunchtime.
A lot of great things came from this time. The late Marguerite Patten invented melon cocktails and salmon mousse, and Rosemary Hume changed sandwiches forever with the invention of coronation chicken. Let’s say you have a coronation chicken appetiser: it would be the perfect time to move on to a serious white wine. I would recommend Domaine Chanson’s Premier Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc from Beaune, the 2020 vintage. This is a stunning chardonnay — the steely type, with high acidity but opulence, too, ideal for those equally opulent dishes.
Oh, you’ve finished the red and the BBC are still going? What a wonderful excuse for some port with your cheese course. Port is quite a personal drink, and perhaps you have a collection you’ve been waiting for the right moment to open... what are you waiting for? Make sure you stand the bottle upright for a day before you open it if it has been left horizontal. If you don’t have a collection, to keep things perky I would suggest a bottle of Croft Vintage 2017: it is still youthful but shows huge potential, and has the right balance of brooding raspberries and richness alongside some herbaceous notes, to stop you from nodding off. Finally, one more toast — to King Charles III, long to reign over us — with a whisky. As you will be on your way by now, I think it’s best to keep things light. Try Fettercairn’s 12-Year- Old Single Malt: with some tropical notes and a hint of sticky toffee pudding, it will provide a grand finale. God save the King!
Read the full guide in Issue 87, available to purchase on TheRake.com and on newsstands worldwide now.
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