Recently I was contacted by a client about a bottle that they wished to sell (perhaps more evidence of the dash to cash during lockdown):
Pol Roger Cuvée de Réserve 1947.
Not just the “normal”(!) 1947 Pol Roger – which was apparently Sir Winston Churchill’s “house Champagne” towards the end of his life – but a bottling that was disgorged on 29th July 1981 to commemorate the wedding of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
(NB it wasn’t served at the wedding.)
It was a great Champagne vintage in 1947, the middle of a biennial trio that included 1945 and 1949.
The summer was very hot and the harvest was precocious, starting in early September. Normally it would have been mid- to late-September.
As a point of comparison, the grapes for the sun-drenched 1921 vintage were harvested from 19th September. (An exceptional year for Pol Roger, too.)
I haven’t had Pol ’47 but Arden’s friend François Audouze had the Churchill version and the Princess Diana version à deux in May 2017.
He noted that the late-disgorged 1981 version was “drier because it has not been dosé at the time of the disgorgement. Its vivacity is extreme. It’s quite sunny and pleasant but I prefer by far the first, which enchants me.”
Probably Pol Roger’s (or any other business’s) finance director would prefer the earlier release, too.
Just imagine waiting 34 years for a wine – or any other product – to be released.
To compound this cash-flow horror, some bottles of 1947 Pol Roger (according to the late Michael Broadbent’s "Vintage Wine" book) were disgorged even later, in 1988.
Some examples of 1921 Pol were disgorged in 1966 – 45 years after the vintage.
The 40th anniversary of the 1981 Royal wedding will be – well, noted rather than celebrated – in 2021.
Pol Roger 1947 has outlasted the marriage and is up for grabs.