In keeping with tradition, President Obama was served an English sparkling wine at the state banquet at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
The international mix of guests included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, newly returned from their honeymoon, prime minister David Cameron, Lord Coe, Sir Richard Branson, former prime ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Tom Hanks and Kevin Spacey.
They dined on sole in crayfish sauce and new season Windsor lamb with basil, under the chandeliers in the great ballroom at the Palace for the official opening banquet of the President’s state visit to the UK.
Topping the banquet wine list was a Sussex vintage from Ridgeview, the 2004 Cuvee Merret Fitzrovia Rosé , which came as a surprise to the producers when the menu was released at 8pm last night
Other wines served were William Fevre Chablis Les Clos 2004, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux 1990, and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rich 2002.
‘We had no idea,’ said Mardi Roberts, sales and marketing manager at Ridgeview, ‘we often ship to government hospitality but we don’t know when they are used, so it was news to us’.
‘We’re absolutely thrilled,’ she continued, ‘just looking through the guest list and knowing that all those powerful people were tasting our wine and that they are aware of who we are and what we’re doing – it’s so exciting that they’ve judged us worthy of such an occasion’.
Ridgeview Estate Winery was founded by the Roberts family in 1994.
The estate’s Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2006 beat competition from five Champagnes, including the Taittinger Prélude NV, Charles Heidsieck Millésime 2000 and Thienot’s Brut Rosé NV to win International Trophy for Sparkling Wine Over £10 at the Decanter World Wine Awards last year.
Written by Anna Berrill