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1914 Pol Roger Champagne sells for £5K

A bottle of 1914 Pol Roger Champagne harvested to the sound of gunfire sold for £5,640 at Bonhams auction house in London this morning.

Said to have been the favourite vintage of Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite fizz, proceeds from the sale will go to the Imperial War Museum to support the refurbishment of its First World War Galleries.

“I’m delighted that this very special wine made such a good price and that the proceeds are going to benefit such a worthwhile cause,” said Bonhams head of wine, Richard Harvey MW.

The bottle of Champagne had been stored in Pol Roger’s cellars of 100 years before being transferred to London for the sale.

Regarded as one of the finest vintages of the 20th century, the grape harvest in 1914 very nearly didn’t take place, with German soldiers having engulfed Épernay at the start of the war.

With all able-bodied men called up to fight, the harvest was carried out by women, children and men who were too old or unwell to fight.

Maurice Pol Roger famously observed that the vintage was “harvested to the sound of gunfire but to be drunk to the sound of trumpets.”

Some of the grapes were picked earlier than usual as Pol Roger feared the Germans would renew their offensive, with the increased acidity contributing to its longevity.

Harvey MW described the wine as “very rich but still dry, remarkably fresh and alive for a 100 year old wine.”

The Champagne was sold to a private collector.

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