What the Shah drank: Wines at the 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire in 1971

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BBC4’s excellent “Storville” series recently showed a film about “The 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire”, held by the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 12–16 October 1971 on the occasion of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial State of Iran and First Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great.

Guests included over sixty of the world’s kings, queens and presidents, including such paragons of integrity as Mobutu Sese Seko and Nicolae Ceauşescu. The Queen was invited but Prince Philip and Princess Anne attended on her behalf.

A tent city was built at Persepolis to accommodate the guests. A film of the event was made, with Orson Welles as narrator. Maxim’s restaurant of Paris was the caterer.

There was a bit of wine, too.

An unverified menu includes Dom Pérignon Rosé 1959 for the official toast (great Champagne vintage); Château Haut-Brion Blanc 1964 (terrible vintage for sweet white Bordeaux but the hot summer was good for reds and dry whites); Château Lafite Rothschild 1945 (an all-time great); Moët et Chandon 1911 (another great Champagne vintage, the best between 1874 and 1921); and Musigny Comte Georges de Vogüé 1945 (great – but how did they get enough of it for over sixty guests?).

Apparently the event might have cost more than $200 million.

The Shah paid an even greater price for this extravagance. He was overthrown in February 1979.

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Wine and Music: The Everly Brothers’ “The Price of Love”

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Released in 1965, “The Price of Love” was written and performed by Don Everly and Phil Everly.

With its sneering vocals and raucous harmonica, it was a smash in the UK but much less regarded in the USA.

“Wine is sweet, gin is bitter, drink ’em all but you won’t forget her” they sing. Ain’t that so. 

 

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: JULY NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

I’m a tad early with this month’s newsletter, but – with August shaping up as the busiest project month of the summer – it’s a case of trying to stay ahead of the game.

There’s something of a pictorial nature to this month’s edition with a review of our past season in Mumbai; the project’s efforts on the recycling front; and a spot of recreational cricket in Yorkshire.

Cheers

Vic”

 

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: JUNE NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

By way of tribute to the ICC Women’s World Cup, we feature a cover picture from a recent handover of project kit at a cricket club for girls and young women in the Mumbai suburb of Thane.

A little closer to home we have news and pictures of another successful kit drop for refugees on Germany’s Baltic coast. On re-reading, that sounds too much Cold War and not enough cricket, but you get the idea.

The remainder of the newsletter highlights our End of Season Awards bash with the kids of the Dharavi Cricket Academy. A fun evening and a great way to bring down the curtain on our eighth (eek!) season in Mumbai.

Cheers

Vic”

The newsletter can be downloaded here.

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Zalto glassware: Best prices in UK from here!

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We are delighted to present Zalto glasses, which we believe are the best available. Our prices are as good as any in the UK.

Check out the range at Zalto’s website.

Our price list can be downloaded here.

Unlike most other glassware, there is no lead in Zalto glasses, which makes them stronger, more elastic, and extremely lightweight.
All of Zalto’s glasses are mouth-blown in one piece, then the foot is attached: the usual method is for the stem to be glued to the bowl. The glasses are cooled very slowly, which makes them significantly tougher than their rivals. Accidentally knocked over onto a granite surface, they will almost always “bounce”.

Zalto glasses are dishwasher-proof and are resistant to clouding.

We think that the choice of wine glass is extremely important, especially when serving fine wines and older wines.

If you don’t think that Zalto adds to the experience, why not drink from the bottle…?

Please contact us with any queries.

#VinsExtraordinaires
#FineWine
#Zalto

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Days of cricket and @Moet_UK champagne

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Another image of a certain champagne brand in a cricket setting.

Not sure where and when this photo was taken but I believe it is a National Club Cup match.

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT MAY NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

Before we get immersed in all things depressingly electoral, a little light reading to lift the spirits in the shape of the Project Front Foot May newsletter.

Another bumper edition too as we bring the curtain down on our eighth season in Mumbai; plus further heartening news from our partners at Female Cricket; and the first pictures of the project kit distribution among Germany’s Afghan refugee community.

Cheers

Vic” 

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Tony Greig celebrates with @Moet_UK

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Here’s a picture of Tony Greig, fine all-rounder and England captain, that hangs inside the India Room of the OCS Stand at The Oval cricket ground.

Not sure what match award he’s just won but a 3.5-litre Jeroboam or 4.5 litre Rehoboam – it’s hard to tell what size the bottle is – of @Moet_UK would have been perfect for 6’7” Greig.

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Wine and Literature: H. Warner Allen and “natural red wines”

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Herbert Warner Allen (1881-1968) is perhaps the great forgotten wine writer of the 20th century. I have been able to find very little information about him after being given a copy of his Through The Looking Glass by a friend recently.

He wrote several books on wine, including A History of Wine, The Romance of Wine, A Contemplation of Wine, and, intriguingly, Natural Red Wines (1951).

Doubtless to the disappointment of Alice Feiring and Isabelle Legeron MW, the books contents are as follows: “The wines of Médoc – The red wines of Graves and Saint-Émilion – The red wines of Burgundy – French maids of honour – Claret and burgundy vintages – Dominion red wines – Storing and serving of natural red wines”.

For Warner Allen and his colleagues in the 1950s, “natural” meant what today we would likely call “classic” or “fine” wine. But there is an implication that the classic wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy were made with a light touch and were therefore “natural”. “Bordeaux mixture” –  copper sulphate (CuSO4) and slaked lime (Ca[OH]2) – was widely used as a fungicide, which is seemingly far away from organic or Biodynamic winemaking principles, though bizarrely Bordeaux mixture is approved for organic vegetable (including grape) growing. “Natural” – in the contemporary sense – does not necessarily mean “completely free from sulphur or other additives”.

Warner Allen also wrote fiction, including the 1936 British detective novel Trent’s Own Case in collaboration with E.C. Bentley, creator of the splendid “clerihew” poem, which is a four-line biography like this:

Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul’s.”

Warner Allen’s short story “Tokay of the Comet Year” is similar to Roald Dahl’s “Taste”, with an expert challenged to identify wines, including a mystery Tokaji from the great 1811 vintage. Worth a read – and a taste.

 

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May 2017 fine and rare broking list

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Please find attached my current fine and rare list.

I do not own all this stock but broker most of it on behalf of suppliers. With the launch of Vins Extraordinaires, I am starting to utilise my own stocks to sell through the Assouline residency and at private and corporate events.

My prices are very competitive and significantly better than is the norm in London.

For example, a Mayfair retailer offers Lafite 2000 at £2,496.80 per bottle. I can offer it at £1,540.

UK delivery can be done on a next-day basis. Overseas deliveries can be done and are charged at cost.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any queries

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