Madame Vintner allowed me to accompany her to Vintner’s Hall for the Freeman’s Dinner. First to tie the black bow. Thank you the Swagger and Swoon web site. Then onto the 6pm river bus, a sunny evening, delightful. A short walk from the Blackfriars pier and we entered the world of tradition and fellowship. Over one hundred black tied gents and ladies in bare shoulders and unfashionable long dresses.
Worshipful Company officers in their ermine, uniformed oarsmen reminded of the connection with the swans, flunkeys dispensing the fizz,it was all as it should be. Presiding over it all the Master Robert “Mr Chuckles” Rolls with his beaming good cheer. Wines came and went with wonderful and prompt regularity. The wine master explained his choices* for the evening. None was wasted. Graces were said, loving cups passed, toasts raised, more wines,more courses,if the Vintners cant throw a good dinner,who can?
One toast for the Queen, another for the Royal Family, the National Anthem lustily sung. Here was patriotic tradition going back to the 14th century. There are times when one feels very much part of the long river of the nation, your blood is its blood, this was one of those times.
“Come,come, let us drink the Vintners good health/Tis the cask not the coffer that holds true wealth”
It is said that with wine the venue is as important as the vintage. This was an evening when both were Grand Cru.
*Champagne Louis Roederer,2010 Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses,2001 Chateau Leoville Barton 2eme Crus Classe,2001 Chateau Lynch Bages 5eme Grand Cru Classe, 2000 Chateau Rieussec ler Grand Cru Classe,1997 Quinta do Vesuvio,1976 Hine Grand Champagne.