Et glas med Winston Churchill

”Bag en hver stor mand, står en kvinde.” Det ved en hver. Winston Churchill havde en lang række kvinder i kulissen. Hans kone naturligvis. Og så dem, jeg elsker at høre om: Hans sekretærer, der fulgte ham overalt for at tage notater for den evigt talende statsmand.

Efter sigende skulle hans badeværelse have været indrettet på en sådan måde, at han kunne ligge i badekarret og tale, mens hans sekretærer nedfældede hans guldkorn uden at have kig til hans generøse korpus. Den var nok ikke gået i disse me too-tider.

Churchill & Odette

Nå, men endnu en kvinde spillede en rolle i Churchills liv, nemlig Odette Pol-Roger. De to mødte hinanden i 1944 på den britiske ambassade i Paris, og her opstod der en særlig alliance mellem dem. Odette faldt straks i Churchills smag af åbenlyse grunde: Hun var smuk, og hun ejede Pol-Roger, som havde været hans foretrukne Champagne i mange år. Og efter den middag på ambassaden sørgede Odette efter sigende for, han aldrig løb tør for Champagne, og hvert år på hans fødselsdag sendte hun ham en kasse årgangschampagne (1928 var hans favorit og den, de drak, da de mødtes første gang).

Churchills foretrukne

Churchill havde med andre ord skudt papegøjen: et venskab med den smukke ejer af hans yndlings-Champagnehus og årgangs-bobler i litervis uden regning. Alle taler om den papegøje, Churchill skød. Men hvad med den, Odette nedlagde? Jeg er slet ikke i tvivl om, at Odette virkelig kunne lide Churchill, og at det var gengældt. Hun var faktisk én af de ganske få personlige venner, der 20 år senere deltog i hans begravelse. Men hun brugte også sit venskab med ham som et afsæt for brandingen af sin virksomhed. Allerede i sin samtid var Winston Churchill en legende, og med sin alliance med ham, lavede Odette et ualmindelig veludført marketingsstunt, for Pol-Roger blev hermed ”Churchills foretrukne Champagne”. Da Churchill døde, gav de Pol-Roger-flasken et sort sørgebind på, og i 1984 opkalde huset en cuvée efter den engelske statsmand. Pol-Roger er stadig den dag i dag bedst kendt for at være Winston Churchills foretrukne Champagne, selv efter han ikke er i stand til at drikke den. Det er jo genialt!

Jeg vil gerne udbringe en skål for Churchill og Odette. Skål for kloge og strategiske kvinder og deres rettidige omhu. Skål for venskaber og store statsmænd. Skålen skal naturligvis udbringes i en Pol-Roger-Champagne!

Kæmp for Champagne!

Jeg ved ikke, hvordan årgang 1928 smagte, men husets standard-Champagne Pol-Roger Brut Réserve er klart en lækker Champagne, som i øvrigt også værdsættes af den levende vin-legende Hugh Johnson. Dens blide og små bobler er næsten som skum, hvilket er noget af det bedste, jeg ved. Jeg er nemlig slet ikke til de der hårde danskvandsbobler, der går direkte i næsen på én. Det her er til gengæld elegant udført. Champagnen er rund, let til bens og virkelig sprød – og min mund fik det, ligesom når jeg spiser Granny Smith-æbler: Det hele snerpede lidt sammen, men på den gode måde, man gerne vil have! Snerperiet gælder heldigvis ikke den mentale tilstand oven på sådan en omgang Pol-Roger – tværtimod.

Kan ikke lade være med at tænke på, om vi i virkeligheden skal takke huset Pol-Roger for, at Churchill havde så stor interesse for at få Frankrig befriet, når man mærker sig hans ord ”Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne.”

Fine Wines fører et bredt udvalg af Pol-Rogers Champagner – herunder både cuvée Winston Churchill og den skønne Pol-Roger Brut Réserve, jeg drak, som koster 329 kr., når man køber en enkelt flaske. Du kan også køre forbi Pol-Rogers hovedsæde i Épernay og shoppe. Adressen er let at huske: Rue Winston Churchill nr. 1.

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