At a gala dinner to celebrate 100 years of the ‘entente cordiale’ between England and France, Jacques Chirac managed to avoid last year’s controversy over his choice of wine.
The menu for the dinner included Foie Gras with a Sauternes jelly, stuffed quails with Morille mushrooms and Saladine potatoes, finishing off with a Chambord gateau of chocolate and mint.
Champagne Dom Perignon Cru Grande Reserve 1995, Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988 and Château Yquem 1990 were the wines served with the dinner.
The Mouton will recall French President Chirac’s gift to Tony Blair last year when a case of the more controversial ’89 vintage was offered. UK broadsheet the Guardian stirred controversy at the time by claiming the 1989 Mouton was not an especially renowned vintage.
Chirac has managed to side step that landmine this time – ‘palate full of fruit, delicious flavour, easy to drink’ says top taster Michael Broadbent of the ’88. The Yquem, again according to Broadbent, is ‘perfect now’ with a great future, and wine writer Tom Stevenson rates the Dom Perignon highly.
Last night’s black-tie dinner, held in honour of the queen and 100 years of the Anglo-French alliance, was held at the president’s residence, the Elysée Palace. Guests were welcomed by a Republican Guard fanfare, presented to the queen and sat down to dinner at a large, horseshoe-shaped table. A group of classical musicians proved background music for the dinner and the Queen and Chirac both gave speeches.
‘We should rejoice that our two peoples continue to hold such fascination and attraction for each other,’ said Chirac.
Written by Oliver Styles