The Commanderie du Bontemps’ Gala Dinner was held in the Versailles Palace on Monday 11th February 2020. During this truly memorable evening, 650 international guests were able to follow in the footsteps of some of the most prestigious visitors to France and experience in their turn the French art of hospitality.
Having crossed the Royal courtyard, the guests were admitted to the magic of the premises, starting with a private tour of the King’s Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors and the Queen’s Apartments.
After a stroll through history, while marvelling at French craftsmanship, the guests were met by a guard of honour of fifty Commandeurs in full uniform, who ushered them towards cocktails. Three wines representing the Bordeaux Left Bank terroirs were offered: Château Brown 2016, a Pessac Léognan white; Château Fourcas Dupré 2010, a Moulis and Château Rayne Vigneau 2014, a Sauternes.
Dinner was served in the Gallery of Great Battles. This hall depicts the greatest French battles and victories from Tolbiac to Wagram, and symbolises how the Palace has been transformed into an historical museum.
During his welcome speech, the Grand Master of the Commanderie, Emmanuel Cruse declared, “Since 1950, the Commanderie has pursued its mission of promoting its great terroirs with their rich history and building worldwide recognition of their wines, which contribute to the history of Bordeaux and are part of French culture. This dinner will create great memories for us all and gives us an incredible opportunity to highlight our wines, our heritage and the French art of hospitality. This gallery can also be seen as a reminder of the battles we have been fighting for seventy years to underline the value of our wines in ever-changing business contexts”, he added.
All the bottles served at the dinner were previously tasted by the Commanderie’s cellar masters, supported by Olivier Poussier, Best Sommelier in the World, 2000, who was responsible for ensuring the quality of the wine service on behalf of the caterers Lenôtre, who concocted the meal.
The proceedings began with a white wine, Château Fieuzal 2015, followed by Château Léoville Barton 2009 and Château Lascombes 2005, enabling guests to reconnect with two great Medoc vintages.
Lafite Rothschild 2004, served from magnums was a perfect match for the Saint Nectaire cheese. As Olivier Poussier put it while seeking out the best wine-food pairings, when the dinner was being planned: “Being matured in cellars, this cheese develops tertiary flavours, which marry perfectly with this very great wine that bears the polish of time.”
To finish, the smooth velvet of the Sauternes, Château Suduiraut 2003, was served with an orange dessert.
This dinner at the Versailles Palace clearly constitutes a landmark in the history of the Commanderie du Bontemps. It opens in very great style a 70th anniversary year, which will feature a host of other events throughout 2020.