King Charles and Queen Camilla began their three-day state visit to France in style last night as celebrities, sports stars, authors, winemakers and politicians joined the Royal couple at a state banquet in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.
Both the King and president Macron addressed the some 160 guests, who included high-profile figures chosen for their contribution to UK-France relations.
Attendees included novelist Ken Follet, French-British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and British actresses Charlotte Rampling and Kristin Scott Thomas, playwright Sir Christopher Hampton and former French tennis player Amélie Mauresmo.
Bernard Arnault, CEO of French luxury group LVMH, was also present, as was Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger, actor Hugh Grant and former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, as well as retired footballers Didier Drogba and Patrick Vieira.
Wines on the menu at the Versailles banquet for King Charles
Wines served during the lavish Versailles banquet have not been officially confirmed, but French newspaper Le Figaro said they included top bottles from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne.
Ahead of the night, it said three of the wines served would be:
- Pol Roger, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2013 was served from magnum
- Olivier Leflaive, Bâtard Montrachet grand cru 2018 from magnum
- Château Mouton Rothschild 2004 from double magnum
Before the banquet, King Charles and Macron were also due to share a toast at presidential residence the Elysée Palace with Champagne Salon 1948, the year of the King’s birth, the paper reported.
There is often meaning attached to wines chosen for such occasions. During his time as Prince of Wales, King Charles himself created a watercolour image that adorns the label of Mouton Rothschild 2004.
The vintage marks the centenary of the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France, established in 1904.
As a direct relation of king Edward VII who played a prominent part in the agreement, the Prince of Wales agreed that the label of the Mouton Rothschild 2004 could be illustrated with one of his watercolours, inspired by a French landscape. He added in his own hand, ‘To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Entente Cordiale – Charles, 2004’.
Famous British prime minister Winston Churchill was known to be a fan of Pol Roger Champagne.
The house’s Sir Winston Churchill 2013 prestige cuvée bearing his name was recently given 94 points by Decanter’s Champagne correspondent, Tom Hewson, who described it as ‘complex and dynamic’.
The wines were reportedly served alongside a menu created by Michelin-starred chefs Yannick Alléno, Anne-Sophie Pic and Pierre Hermé.
Dishes included blue lobster, Bresse French poultry with mushroom gratin, and concluded with a set of three hand-picked cheeses (two French and one English) before the dessert, Isfahan Persian macaroon, designed by Hermé.
It was reported that the Michelin-starred kitchen maestros finalised their menu, which was then sent to London for approval. It’s understood that King Charles does not eat foie gras, for example.
The royal couple are now set to meet sports stars playing in this year’s Rugby World Cup, which is hosted by France.
They will then arrive in Bordeaux, home to almost 40,000 Britons, where they will meet UK and French military personnel, meet firefighters involved in last year’s fires, and visit pioneering organic winery Château Smith Haut Lafitte in the Pessac-Léognan appellation.
There is also another banquet planned for the evening of the 22nd, and it’s believed some high-profile Bordeaux winemakers have been invited.
Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/king-charles-versailles-banquet-wines-menu-511929/