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When the young Winston Churchill set sail in 1899 to report on the Boer War in South Africa, he went well equipped. His personal stores included no less than 30 bottles of champagne (vintage 1887), 18 bottles of Bordeaux, 18 of ten-year-old Scotch, a dozen of Rose’s Cordial Lime Juice, a half-dozen of “light port,” another half-dozen of French vermouth — and six bottles of “Very Old Eau de Vie 1866.” Cognac, in other words. Churchill, as his biographer William Manchester (The Last Lion) has noted, “clearly had no intention of living a spartan life at the front.” Three wars and 45 years later, Churchill found himself aboard the Queen Mary on his way to a conference in Canada with President Franklin Roosevelt. World War or no World War, rationing or no rationing, Churchill still liked to eat — and drink. John “Jock” Colville, the prime minister’s private secretary, recorded in his diary a typical meal aboard ship: oysters, consomm�, turbot, roast turkey, ice with cantaloupe, Stilton cheese, and a “great variety of fruit.” To go with that gargantuan repast, Churchill contented himself with drinking “champagne (Mumm 1929) and a very remarkable Liebfraumilch, followed by some 1870 brandy.” Whether in wartime or peace, Churchill’s gastronomical regimen varied only slightly. A late breakfast at home was accompanied by a glass of scotch (Johnnie Walker Red Label) and soda. Lunch called for champagne, followed by a glass of port to go with the ripe Stilton, followed by brandy. The appearance of a snifter of cognac, Manchester tells us, was “greeted with a blissful smile and the reaming of a fresh [Cuban] cigar. Brandy, [Churchill] believes, is essential to a stable diet, and the older the bottle the better. Although uninebriated, he becomes more genial, more affable, more expansive, radiating reassurance.” Dinner was, if anything, even more elaborate. Favorites on the menu included clear soup, oysters, caviar, Gruy�re cheese, p�t� de foie gras, trout, shoulder of lamb, lobster, dressed crab, petite marmite, scampi, and Dover sole. Not to mention roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Churchill, Manchester tells us, never went a day without champagne, and he seldom went without port or brandy. His usual cognac: Hine. His champagne of choice: Pol Roger. At the reopening of the British embassy in Paris in late 1944, Churchill celebrated with Pol Roger 1928, one of the most famous vintages of the century. It would be his favorite wine for most of the next decade. Indeed, so taken was Churchill with the champagne house and its charming mistress, Odette, that he named his racing horse Pol Roger. Churchill, by the way, lived to the ripe old age of 90, bad habits or not. While few of us would even think of starting the day with a whiskey and soda, who wouldn’t like a glass or two of vintage champagne with a meal now and again? It’s at least theoretically possible that you might find some of that ’28 Pol Roger at auction. But in its absence, we’ve put together a mixed case in the Churchillian spirit: a great German dessert wine, two superb St-Emilions (one young, the other mature), some vintage port, a couple of truly great cognacs, and five bottles of the best vintage champagne on the market today. You’ll notice that Pol Roger’s best is known as “Cuv�e Sir Winston Churchill.” Rightly so. � 1988 Pol Roger “Cuv�e Sir Winston Churchill” � 1988 Krug � 1990 Pol Roger “Cuv�e Sir Winston Churchill” � 1990 Bollinger “Grande Ann�e” � 1985 Dom P�rignon � 1996 Kiedricher Gr�fenberg Trockenbeerenauslese (Dom. Robert Weil) � 1982 Ch. Cheval Blanc � 1995 Ch. Troplong-Mondot � 1985 Dow’s vintage port � 1961 Taylor’s vintage port Delamain “R�serve de la Famille” cognac � Hine “Family Reserve” cognac

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