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Pol Roger marks WWI centenary

Pol Roger is supporting World War I centenary commemorations with the auction of a bottle of Champagne from the 1914 vintage.

A bottle of Pol 1914
A bottle of 1914 opened for an event hosted by the house earlier in this centenary year

After lying in the house’s Epérnay cellars for the last 100 years, the bottle is due to be auctioned as part of the Bonhams Fine Wine Sale in London on 24 October.

Proceeds from the sale, which are expected to reach £3,000-4,000, will be donated to the Imperial War Museum in order to support the refurbishment of its First World War Galleries.

Although widely regarded as one of the finest vintages of the 20th century, the 1914 Champagne harvest was badly hampered by the arrival of German troops in Epérnay ahead of the battle of the Marne from 5-12 September that year.

With all able-bodied men called up to fight, the harvest was carried out by women, children and the old or infirm. Maurice Pol Roger famously observed that the vintage was “harvested to the sound of gunfire but to be drunk to the sound of trumpets.”

Commenting on this rare lot, Bonhams head of wine Richard Harvey MW said: “It’s a real pleasure to be selling this wine and for such a good cause. The 1914 Pol Roger is legendary for its quality and rarity.”

Noting the wine’s “deep yellow colour, with honeyed aromas and a flavor of orange peel,” he continued: “it’s very rich but still dry, remarkably fresh and alive for a 100 year old wine.”

As for the wine’s historical context, Harvey noted: “It could not be more closely associated with the Great War and it is fitting that the proceeds should go to support the fine new First World War galleries at the Imperial War Museum.”

 

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