Launch of the Laurent-Perrier ’06 on the Belmond British Pullman

May 06, 15 Launch of the Laurent-Perrier ’06 on the Belmond British Pullman

Posted by in Champagne

Recently, I found myself rolling through the English countryside on a vintage train, drinking vintage Champagne. I was travelling on the Belmond British Pullman train for lunch and the launch of the 2006 vintage of  Laurent-Perrier Champagne. Growing up in California, I never really  had much chance to travel by train but I’ve also been captivated by the idea and to this day, I still love going on a train trip, as long as it’s not on the London Underground. I had been invited to take a train ride and have lunch on the Belmond British Pullman train line. The Belmond was formerly known as the Orient Express but had a name change a few years ago. What hasn’t changed are the trains. Each carriage is an original that has been painstakingly restored. The trains are sometimes called Palaces on Wheels and after having been on one, I can see why. From the polished mahogany doorways to the intricate murals on the lavatory floors, these carriages are one of a kind. The carriages were almost lost to posterity after the 1960’s when they were withdrawn from service in the 1960’s and ’70’s but in 1977, James B Sherwood attended an auction by Sotheby’s  featuring a few carriages and became hooked on the idea of restoring these carriages to their former glory and the Orient Express. Today, thanks to James, we can all enjoy a train trip on these restored beauties. They are now branded under the Belmond name. Check out their website for information on dinners, special events, weekend escapes and even the original Orient Express journey from London to Venice. However, we were there to taste champagne.  The MD of Laurent-Perrier, David Hesketh, was on board to lead us through a tasting of not only the 2006 but also the 2004, 2002 and non vintage as well as the Grande Siecle and Laurent Perrier Demi-Sec with lunch. It was a slightly extravegant lunch but we were lunching on one of the original “Palaces...

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Christmas lunch on the Orient Express

The invite said don´t be late, so of course I was legging it through Victoria Station in order to be on time to jump on board the Venice-Simplon Orient Express for a preview Christmas Lunch trip round the Kent countryside. I arrived at the Orient Express departure lounge on Platform 1 to be greeted by a 1920’s jazz band, happy punters  and actors gussied up as flappers, gangsters, gumshoes and, even dare I say, a faux Hercule Poirot circa Peter Ustinov in Death on the Nile. All part of the show as we prepared to step on board for a 5 hour tour.     Yes, I am talking about THE Orient Express, the glamorous train of the first half of the 20th century that moved royalty and the rich around Europe. The carriages have been restored and were first put back into service in the early 80’s after being hunted down by James B Sherwood at auction. He went on to find 35 carriages in total and has had each lovingly restored to their former Art-Deco glory. We were assigned to Vera,  a carriage which had been taken a direct hit in WWII at Victoria Station, although you would never have been able to tell, the restoration was truly complete, to begin our Jazz age train ride. We were greeted with glasses of Laurent-Perrier, which was a good thing as we were taking this trip in the middle of July and it was HOT! Probably the only hot day this past summer. I can imagine that the Pullman cars make a great place to be when the scene outside your window is covered in snow. We had to use our imagination as our view was not as wintery but the champagne definitely helped. The lunch included half a bottle per person and so I had a quick look through the wine list. There was a nice selection of reasonably priced red and white French wines and I chose a white Burgundy to go with our lunch of butternut squash soup,...

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