It’s that time of year again when the great and the good don their most sophisticated attire and head across to Windsor for some fun in the sun … their destination being Royal Ascot, the most spectacular event on the horse racing calendar. Over five days, this event showcases the very best that the racing world has to offer, with the pageantry broadcast to thousands of viewers around the globe. Thanks to an impressive prize fund of over £7 million, every single horse and jockey guarantees a spectacular show in the pursuit of glory.
However. As much as we at Winerist love a little flutter every now and again, we are drawn to Ascot for another (just as important) reason. We’re talking, of course, about the hospitality. More specifically, we’re talking the beautiful, bubbly that is Bollinger.
One of the most iconic champagne houses on the planet, this celebrated brand has a long and illustrious heritage which is intertwined with the equally prestigious Ascot. Bollinger has been the only Champagne House to be nominated Official Champagne of the Royal meet since the event first began in 1711, becoming the definitive rite of passage for hedonistic racegoers over the course of the last three centuries. It’s truly a champagne fit for a king (or queen) … and this quality has been recognised since 1884 when Queen Victoria honoured Bollinger with the first ever Royal Warrant for champagne.
Back in the present day, Royal Ascot is quite simply the most elegant and convivial of settings in which to enjoy a glass of this classic fizz, with no visit to the track complete without taking the opportunity to see and be seen with a glass of Bolly in hand!
A Winerist Guide to the Bollinger Range
Bollinger Special Cuvée
Bollinger Special Cuvée is poured both at Royal Ascot and all other Ascot hosted events throughout the year and is perfect shared with friends to mark the special occasion. It’s the house’s signature cuvée and delivers the best of everything that a good bottle should be. Fine, velvety bubbles tantalise your tastebuds and the palate is sumptuous and complex with notes of pear and just a hint of fresh walnut. Head down to either the Bollinger 1829 Bar to the east of the enclosure, or the Madame Bollinger Bar to the west, for some light refreshment.
Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé and Bollinger La Grande Année
Meanwhile, in the heart of the Royal Enclosure, there’s an opportunity to expand your Bollinger expertise at the Panoramic Restaurant. Two Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc returns with a tailored menu with selected Bollinger vintages recommended for each course. For your main, you might try the aromatic Bollinger La Grande Annee Rosé with its delicate coral colouring and delicate flavouring (pay attention to the notes of kirsch and cut grass); or, to accompany the cheese course, a glass of Bollinger La Grande Année. The 2007 is an exceptional vintage, with golden hues and the most refreshing of finishes, and really is the only way to end a meal.
If you’re experiencing some serious Ascot-and-Bollinger related jealousy right now, fear not! You can still experience the Royal treatment by heading down to Elystan Street, the Chelsea restaurant made famous by chef Phil Howard. Here, diners are offered an exclusive Bollinger paired menu designed to highlight the Roast Zander dish – created by Phil to honour the ultimate prestige cuvee, Bollinger R.D. 2004. This is a blend of the very best vintages that Bollinger has to offer and a taste sensation that’s well worth the wait – which is lucky, because this particular cuvée is aged for over four times longer than standard champagne. It really does have to be tasted to be believed, with a bold and brilliant palate that promises intense fruit and a long, harmonious and utterly delectable finish.