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English fizz and Lafite served at state banquet

The wines served at last night’s state banquet to mark the visit of US president Donald Trump included both classic French domaines and rising English names alike.

Members of the royal family, British and American politicians, ambassadors and trade and industry leaders attended the dinner at Buckingham Palace last night (3 June). The last state visit by a US president was Barack Obama in 2011.

The menu began with steamed fillet of halibut with a watercress mousse, asparagus and a chervil sauce, followed by new season lamb from the Windsor estate with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and a Port sauce and finished with a strawberry sable and lemon verbena cream.

Five wines were served in total, two of them English. These were the Windsor Great Park 2014 – a small vineyard planted in Windsor Great Park – and Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé non-vintage from Hampshire.

With the rise of the UK wine industry both the royal family and British government have begun including English and Welsh wine into their wine repertoire. HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, is the patroness of the UK wine industry and president of the Wines of Great Britain association.

Served alongside the other dishes were a 2014 Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot by Louis Jadot, 1990 Château Lafite and Churchill’s 1985 vintage Port.

In total 1,020 glasses were provided for the 170 guests.

With the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord taking place this week, both the Queen and president Trump referenced the ties of alliance and friendship between the United States and United Kingdom.

The business of choosing appropriate wines for visiting foreign dignitaries is a rather intriguing diplomatic undercurrent.

Serving wines and other drinks perceived as ‘cheap’ can be perceived as a sly insult to the visitor and shaming for the host nation, while any host that neglects to serve some of its country’s own wines can bring down the wrath and ire of the domestic industry and suggestions of a lack of patriotic pride on the part of the government.

Of course with president Trump this conundrum is somewhat side-stepped by virtue of his being tee-total.

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