King Charles III’s coronation in Westminster Abbey on 6 May will make him the country’s 15th monarch to have reigned in the lifetime of Taylor’s Port, said the company, which was founded back in 1692.
Taylor’s is releasing 1,500 bottles of ‘Very Very Old Tawny Port Coronation Edition’ via fine wine merchants to mark the first coronation in the UK for 70 years. It has a recommended retail price of £425-a-bottle.
David Guimaraens, Taylor’s head winemaker, said, ‘The component wines for this limited-edition blend were drawn from among our finest and oldest cask aged Ports.’
Alongside memorabilia ranging from biscuit tins to tea towels, the coronation was always likely to inspire a plethora of limited-edition drinks.
Some might be more appropriate for quaffing at bunting-lined street parties and others appear more like collector’s editions to savour over time, but all have been created to mark a royal occasion not seen for decades.
UK sparkling wine
The recent blossoming of award-winning UK wines can hardly have been imagined at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953 – a year that coincidentally also saw the first Master of Wine exam, according to the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Sparkling wine producers were anticipating ‘record sales of homegrown fizz’ during Charles’ coronation weekend, said Balfour Winery recently.
It launched Coronation Classic Cuvée sparkling via Marks & Spencer stores and online retailer Ocado at £22-a-bottle, with a suggested food pairing of fish and chips.
Other UK sparkling releases include:
- Nyetimber has launched Classic Cuvée Multi-Vintage in a bottle partly ‘inspired by royal garments and uniforms’ (recommended retail price: £39.50);
- Chapel Down has launched 2,000 bottles of 2016-vintage ‘Coronation Edition’ sparkling (RRP £65), with profits from sales going to the Royal British Legion;
- Hattingley Valley has launched limited-edition bottles of ‘Kings Cuvée Rosé’ 2015 (£95).
- Ridgeview has launched limited-edition packages with a trio of sparkling wines ‘served at previous royal occasions’: Bloomsbury NV, Cavendish NV and Fitzrovia NV.
Camilla, the Queen Consort, has long been a fan of the UK’s burgeoning wine scene.
She has visited several wineries and in 2011 became president of the UK Vineyards Association, before continuing as president of the new WineGB trade body. It wasn’t immediately clear whether her new duties and role would affect this position.
Across the English Channel, Champagne has a long association with royal occasions, too.
Moët & Chandon was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria. In France, it was also once served at romantic suppers held by France’s Louis XV.
It was celebrating this month’s coronation in the UK by releasing a ‘limited-edition Moët & Chandon Impérial Magnum bottle’, available at LVMH’s Clos19 online platform and also specialist retailers from 1 May (RRP: £96).
Royal Salute releases $25,000 Scotch whisky
High-end spirits releases have also been a feature of the coronation build-up.
Royal Salute, a specialist in aged, blended Scotch, has released ‘Coronation of King Charles III Edition’, a blend of more than 53 rare malt and grain whiskies housed in a Dartington crystal decanter.
Only 500 bottles are being released globally, including 56 to be made available in the US with a suggested retail price of $25,000 (£19,959) per bottle.
Royal Salute’s 21-year-old signature blend originated as a Coronation gift to Queen Elizabeth II.
Independent whisky broker Mark Littler, meanwhile, has launched a 27 Year Old single malt Scotch distilled at the Macallan distillery.
Ninety bottles have been made available via the Mark Littler Ltd website, priced at £2,599 each and with shipping available worldwide.
Matured in a single ex-bourbon cask, the whisky was bottled at its natural strength of 41% abv in a Glencairn Crystal Reserve decanter and is fitted inside a handmade royal blue box embossed with King Charles III’s cypher, Littler said.
It features a label design originally drafted by the late designer and art director David Holmes, who worked with Macallan, and completed by his son, Toby.
Moving onto the gin scene, Sipsmith has launched The Sipping Society Coronation Box, containing a Coronation Gin and Hot Honey Gin (RRP: £35 per box).
The Coronation Gin includes rosehip and cardamom macerated overnight with chamomile and orange peel added. The liquid is rested in Laphroaig Scotch whisky casks, ‘one of His Majesty’s favourite tipples’, Sipsmith said.
Its Hot Honey gin uses honey harvested from the eco-friendly Room2 Hotel located nearby the London-based distillery, the group added.
Boxes like this are normally only available to Sipping Society members, but Sipsmith said 150 boxes would be available to non-members.
Gin distiller Silent Pool has also released a special ‘Coronation Gin’, available exclusively via Waitrose (£45) and described as ‘an entirely new recipe created from local botanicals, plants and flowers favoured by King Charles III’.
These include dried plum and raspberry leaves, Earl Grey tea and hawthorn berries.