Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A "Gentlemen's Champagne"

. Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Gentleman routinely imbibes himself with Pol Roger champagne, or any other prominent champagne that holds the royal warrant.

WINSTON CHURCHILL WAS A CIGAR-SMOKING PUFFBALL whose daily alcohol regime included sherry at breakfast, whisky at lunch, champagne at dinner and brandy before bed. Or so it has been reported. This may not be quite accurate for the official Churchill Centre states that he preferred beer at lunch and whisky during tea time, whilst before dinner there was sherry, then Champagne, brandy and port. He apparently enjoyed the occasional glass of hock at breakfast, and he would traditionally greet people in the morning with a sherry. Those close to him confide that he couldn't stand cocktails, apart from the "Papa Cocktail", a smidgen of Johnnie Walker covering the bottom of a tumbler, which was then filled with water and sipped throughout the morning according to his daughter. As one observer described it, it was more akin to mouthwash than a highball but that's how Winston liked his scotch and water. It was perhaps this very watered down concoction that gave the great man a seemingly bottomless capacity for drink-soaked endurance, and allowed him to fondly quip that "he had taken more out of alcohol than alcohol had taken out of him." In fact the contention that Churchill was in any way an "Alcohol Abuser" is pointedly debunked by the Churchill Centre as a myth, for no serious colleague had ever reported him the worse for drink. He was not an alcohol abuser per se, he was merely alcohol dependent.

As evidence of that dependency there was of course his famous declaration to the King of Saudi Arabia that his absolute rule of life required drinking before, during and after meals, though it was during mealtimes that Churchill did most of his heavy imbibing. There was also the observation that he drank two bottles of Pol Roger champagne a day, his favourite champagne house and the only sparkling wine that he would consume following the Second World War:

And, of course, there was Mme Odette Pol-Roger, a widow from 1963 until her death in 2000 aged 89, on whom - and on whose wines - Winston Churchill doted so much. Indeed, so smitten with her was Churchill that he named a racehorse after her and promised to visit her in Epernay: `Invite me during the vintage, and I'll press the grapes with my bare feet,' he declared. It is reckoned that in the last ten years of his life more than 500 cases of the stuff passed through his cellars.
So for those who cannot afford the silky smooth crispness of Dom Pérignon everyday, Pol Roger champagne is probably the next best thing. Its premium bottle, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, is named after the gentleman who would tolerate no other. As a testament to its fine quality, the prominent champagne house also holds a Royal Warrant to supply the British Royal Family with cases of its very best, further enhancing Pol Roger's reputation as a "gentlemen's champagne".


Palmerston said...

You can tell the quality of the champagne just by the effervescence of the site. Gorgeous.

As for drink quotes, wasn't it Churchill that summarised the navy as "rum, sodomy and the lash"? And if Churchill was not fond of cocktails, why are there so many named after him?

Neil Welton said...

"Rum, sodomy and the lash."

Sounds like an evening out at Cambridge.

Surely if one recalls fully, did not dear Winston suffer (some would say benefit) from "the black dog". In more every day "common" parlance the black dog is known as "depression". Perhaps Winston was using this alcohol quite subconsciously for medicinal purposes - rather like today's youths. Remember, back in Winston's day knowledge, understandings and treatments of certain maladies was not as profound as it is today. As somone who went out of his mind years ago, I can confidently assert I would do almost anything, including consuming large quantities of alcohol, never to end up back inside.

Oh for the days when people accepted their lot in life, their place in a natural social order and read The Good Book. For the big black dog is merely a malady, perhaps a mere symptom, of human life, existence and living (i.e. suffering). As our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus say - if ye do have the Faith, ye move the mountains.

Indeed, as the great man Churchill saith - when you are going through hell, just keep on going. I agree. Amen.

Anonymous said...


Lewis said...

Pol Roger is awful. I much prefer Lindauer - it's also New Zealand made, which is a plus.

Beaverbrook said...

My dear Lewis, the British Royal Family disagrees with you (as it relates to Pol Roger, not Lindauer), though I suspect that wouldn't be the first time!

Palmerston, it is a myth that Churchill invented "rum, sodomy and the lash", though he wish he had. As for cocktails named after Churchill (ie., the Blenheim), Churchill can't help it if others were so inclined, such as the famous head barman at the Savoy Hotel's American Bar, one Joe Gilmore.


Splendor Sine Occasu said...

Reminds me of another Churchill quote:

"I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."

Aeneas the Younger said...

SWC's drinking has been overstated. He enjoyed a light whisky & soda and made it last most of the day. Champagne at supper to be sure, but the PM was not a drunkard. He was ... a man.

Aeneas the Younger said...

SWC's drinking has been overstated. He enjoyed a light whisky & soda and made it last most of the day. Champagne at supper to be sure, but the PM was not a drunkard. He was ... a man.

Lewis said...

Don't worry Beaverbrook, I've pointed it out more than once to a cousin of mine who works for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise that "our" Royal family endorses French products over New Zealand ones.

Neil Welton said...

So Lewis, New Zealand's leading republican, is nothing more than a narrow nationalist who joyfully believes in protectionism, closed markets and the cutting off of valued international ties - for no other reason than cheap politics, perceived political advantage and a hatred of "his" Queen. This is no way to lead a proud and great country like New Zealand. However, it is quite a good way to lead a complete basket case of a nation that looks backwards but not forwards - that puts petty prejudice before our common humanity.

He also appears to believe in placing, for purely political reasons, inferior products before superior products. Is this why he is a republican? Surely all this has come as a shock for all those republicans being led by this man - for only someone who is completely blotto is ever likely to be convinced by any of his arguments.

God Save Our Queen!

Lord Best said...

It is an interesting debate, local produce vs quality. I am lucky in that a great many excellent comestibles are produced locally, but for certain things the quality is just not there (cheese, do not bother with Australian cheese, cheese from any other country than enforced absolute pasteurisation). Thins like fois gras and caviar are notoriously difficult to find in Australia as well, even when my students budget allows their consumption.

Lewis said...

"So Lewis, New Zealand's leading republican is nothing more than a narrow nationalist"

Wrong Neil. I simply said I prefer Lindauer to Pol Roger. I said the fact Lindauer is New Zealand made is a "plus".

"..who joyfully believes in protectionism, closed markets and the cutting off of valued international ties"

Wrong again. I'm actually economically neo-liberal, I support free markets, free enterprise, and expanding New Zealand's international ties. In fact, New Zealand has a much better record on all those counts than, say, Britain and France. Hence we're entitled to be annoyed when Prince Charles goes to a French academy and endorses EU subsidies which harm Australian and New Zealand farmers, and we're entitled to be annoyed when "our" Royal family continues to offer patronage to a wine made in a country that spends more on subsidizing its cows than aid for Africa.

"...for no other reason than cheap politics, perceived political advantage and a hatred of "his" Queen."

Umm, no. I was merely commenting that I don't like Pol Roger and prefer Lindauer. You're simply reading what you want to into my statements.

On the same basis I could say your simple acceptance that the Royal family's endorsement of Pol Roger for the fact that it was endorsed by the Royal family harks back to a certain pre-capitalist economic system, feudalism. You only see Pol Roger as being a superior product because it carries the Royal crest. But that would be unfair of me.

"This is no way to lead a proud and great country like New Zealand."

Agreed. That won't make me prefer Pol Roger though.

"However, it is quite a good way to lead a complete basket case of a nation that looks backwards but not forwards - that puts petty prejudice before our common humanity."

Again, I'm not prejudiced against any other wine making country. I just happen to prefer the wine made in my own.

"He also appears to believe in placing, for purely political reasons, inferior products before superior products."

That's a matter of taste. I've consumed two bottles of Pol Roger in my life time and enjoyed neither. Lindauer, on the other hand, I could drink all the time...

"Is this why he is a republican?"

No. I'm a republican because I believe New Zealand needs an effective and democratic check on the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which we currently lack under the status quo.

"Surely all this has come as a shock for all those republicans being led by this man - for only someone who is completely blotto is ever likely to be convinced by any of his arguments."

I'm not going to dignify such a silly remark with a response.

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Colonial Mentality: Key republican thinks Victoria Cross is a colonial relic
The Red Baron: Billy Bishop, not Mannock, was the British Empire's top ace
Which Scots conservatism: Unionist or Nationalist?
Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary