A Royal Warrant For Champagne

Given that 2013 will likely be a year for William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate, why not use Boxing Day as a moment to revisit the Champagne chosen to toast their marriage. For six months before their nuptials, only six people outside the Royal Household Wine Committee were in on the secret that magnums of Pol Roger Brut Réserve Brut were served at the reception, two from the Pol Roger office in England and four from the office in France. The order was run through Berry Bros. & Rudd, the venerable wine and sprits shop on St. James Street in London, whose managing director Simon Berry moonlights as the Clerk of the Royal Cellars and head of the Royal Household Wine Committee.

Far from the only Champagne in the running, the Royal Household Wine Committee considered wines from all seven Champagne houses with a Royal Warrant from H. M. The Queen: Pol Roger Bollinger (the preferred Champagne of 007), Louis Roederer, Krug, G. H. Mumm, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and Lanson Pére et Fils. Robert Large, the Royal Cellar’s Yeoman, ultimately chose the wine for the event.

Why Pol Roger? Hubert de Billy, who directs domestic sales and global marketing for the house, speculates, “Given the economy, they wanted high-quality non-vintage Champagne in magnums from a family-owned company that was not trendy, but part of the gentry way of living.” The price offered had to be fair, “Not more than the general public would pay and not less.” And it didn’t hurt that Pol Roger was a favorite of both Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. The Brut Reserve, which is equal parts Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, is given at least three years to age, leaving it round and elegant.

Laurent-Perrier was served at the private dinner at St. James Palace in the evening – it has Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales but not H. M. The Queen. It makes one wonder what the Yeoman of the Royal Cellar will serve on New Year’s Eve.