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Queen serves Ridgeview to Chinese premier

China’s president Xi Jinping was treated to English sparkling wine, white Burgundy, first growth Bordeaux and Vin de Constance at last night’s UK state dinner.

Held at Buckingham Palace, guests including the duke and duchess of Cambridge, prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the Queen, the duke of Edinburgh, Xi and his wife.

They were served Ridgeview’s ‘Grosvenor’ 2009 brut as an aperitif before dinner which included fillet of West Coast turbot and loin of Balmoral venison in a Madeira and truffle sauce.

The rest of the wines served were: Domaine Marquis d’Angerville’s 2007 Meursault premier cru Santenots, 1989 Haut-Brion, 2008 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance and 1977 Warre’s vintage Port.

“We’re thrilled that our Grosvenor 2009 was served on such a prestigious occasion and are honoured that it has now been enjoyed at three state banquets including being served to President Obama. This is testament to the British royal family’s support and belief in the quality of English sparkling wine on an international stage,” Ridgeview’s CEO Tamara Roberts told db.

Xi is expected to agree trade deals with the UK worth £30 billion during his visit and events such as last night’s banquet and the wines served at them are all part of a carefully orchestrated diplomatic game.

The wine choice is often carefully calibrated to suit the status and importance of the visiting dignitary.

As has often noted for many years now red Bordeaux is extremely popular in China, especially as the colour is viewed as lucky, as is gold, hence the probable inclusion of a wine such as Vin de Constance. The use of vintages containing an ‘8’ for each is unlikely an accident either as again it is an auspicious number in China. An ’88 Haut-Brion might have provided a double whammy and was a very good vintage in Bordeaux but the ’89 Haut-Brion is considered one of the great post-war wines alongside 1947 Cheval Blanc or 1961 Latour.

The wine selection can backfire on the host nation of course. Last year US president Barack Obama was critcised for serving France’s François Hollande “cheap” wine, while a few year’s after Obama’s visit to the UK in 2011 it was widely reported he had been served a Chablis once considered “soapy” by the palace cellar masters.

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