Pleasant Perspectives (Mostly)

I picked my first garden bouquet for the office vase. It’s the only flower vase in the house due to a flower-unfriendly feline, although at this point she’s getting too old to get at the highest shelves, so maybe we can allow a few more vases this year.

All photos: PKR

All photos: PKR

Forget-me-nots and rosemary in bloom, two of my favorites. The little forget-me-nots are brand new, the rosemary bush is ancient, a bush at the base of a house wall built in 1478. No, the rosemary isn’t quite that old. It dates several decades, though, its twisting, low branches thick as a tree.

Both flowers are often used to represent remembrance, love and fidelity, overcoming challenges to remain loyal.

The other good perspective on the weekend was the movie we went to see last night. Actually, not so much the movie, which we enjoyed. Even if the average age in the movie theater was under 18. That’s what we get for going to a Friday night showing of Captain America: Civil War.

Mumm. Not my very favorite, but tasty nonetheless.

Mumm. Not my very favorite, but tasty nonetheless.

But what made the movie all the more enjoyable was the delightful availability of champagne splits at the concession stand. Yes, with glasses. Plastic, sure, but no worse than at a picnic. Sure, it’s more expensive than popcorn and a Coke. But this is Geneva, Switzerland – the difference isn’t quite as much as you might think.

A little champagne during a movie can make bad movies less awful and good movies better by improving the overall experience. Kind of like having the right music at a restaurant meal.

Especially when the movie is about the good guys taking sides against one another. Differences over loyalty and history, big fights with cataclysmic outcomes. Grim stuff.

Glad we had a bit of bubbly for comfort. Good thing I’m practiced in pouring it in the dark, even with 3D glasses.

Pantry Bubbly

imagesThere are a few staples people always like to have around the house. Whether it’s rice, or eggs, or beer, or bread, if it’s not in the pantry, the pantry is lacking – even if full of other things.

It should come as no surprise that one of these items in our household is champagne (well, whisky, too, but today I’m talking about champagne). We moved to France almost twenty years ago, and I while I loved the drink long before we came here, it’s status as a pantry staple dates to our relocation here.

Our staple bubbly, the Brut Nicolas Feuillatte NV, isn’t overly fancy nor particularly expensive, it’s not necessarily the stuff of special occasions and celebrations or for a fine dinner with friends, and it’s not from a small producer, but it’s reliable and it’s tasty.

It’s dry and finely pearled, with a pale gold colour. I always associate it with a light straw aroma, with apple and pear notes. If you ask me, it goes with most things, including little more than good conversation, or a warm fire in the fireplace.

Nicolas Feuillatte Champagnes are made from the mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes supplied by the Centre Vinicole – Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF) cooperative. Established in the early 1970s, the union is now the largest in Champagne, representing 82 smaller cooperatives and 5000 wine growers. The brand is among the most successful champagne producers, the third largest in the world.

The Nicolas Feuillate facility in Epernay, France.

The Nicolas Feuillate facility in Epernay, France.

I wrote recently that many great Champagne houses once carried the names of widows who had successfully carried on the family business – unfortunately, due to old French property laws, the only way a woman could act as the head of a company was if she married the proprietor, and was subsequently widowed.

Considering how much women contributed to the growth of the industry, it’s a bit odd that Champagne production is once again primarily seen as a male domain. Even the Nicolas Feuillatte web presence has a page titled Our Values – The Men. Having said that, it’s worth mentioning that the current President of the CV-CNF, Véronique Blin, is a woman born into a family of Champagne producers.

At any rate, the cupboard here at ChampagneWhisky always needs a bottle or two of Nicolas Feuillatte to feel well and truly stocked for all occasions, even it it’s just the evening news.