I can’t remember the first time I drank champagne, the real stuff.
I remember drinking sparkling wines from about age 14, and I liked them just fine. Growing up near Napa Valley in California, there were various good, domestic sparkling wines that weren’t too expensive, and then the Spanish Freixenet came on the scene in its sexy black bottle and that was my go-to brown bag beverage for pre-club entertainment all through college.
Now that we live in France, however, I am well and truly spoiled for choice, especially since we live only about two hours south of the lovely chalk-colored fields of the Champagne region. I love white wine, I love red wine, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love Champagne most of all.
The sound it makes in the glass, a soft rush that reminds of the waves crashing on a Pacific beach back home in CA, the constant movement in the glass (well, for as long as there’s any in the glass, of course), the colors from palest eggshell to rich amber to peach rose, the variation in taste, even the soft sigh of release when the cork is gently eased from the bottle.
I once did a favor for some friends, I managed to sell a house they’d had listed for more than a year and really needed to see sold. I was lucky, I found some buyers, and the sale worked out – I was delighted to help because it took a big burden off some people I like very much. And it saved them the realtor’s commission. When they asked what they could do in return, I made the obvious (for me) reply: A nice bottle of champagne would be much appreciated.
Instead, they showed up at our place with not one bottle, and not two, but cases of champagne from a local specialty store – they’d gone in and asked for one bottle each of all the good champagnes, then delivered a few dozen bottles to our doorstep with the comment, “We didn’t know which kind you liked best.”
That was a pretty good day.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s bubbly-o’clock here. Cheers!