Saturday, March 3, 2007

A very good "Champagne" blanc de blancs

So I previously mentioned that if I make the cut and St. Peter allows me through the pearly gates that I am going to drink champagne and eat pate three times a day. Surely in heaven it won't be fattening or cause headaches. It is Sunday so I thought I would write about God's gift of champagne (if you are Baptist, I'm sorry).

I am a huge fan of champagne in very small quantities. I'm not sure why but more than one glass of champagne hurts my head. Champagne carries with it a certain mythology. If you are interest in that topic, then read the chapter Le vin et le lait (Wine and Milk) in Roland Barthes' text Mythologies which is a classic from the late 1950s. The mythological elegance, sophistication, and romance of champagne serves mostly to inflate its price. Talk about good marketing! I'm sure some people would object to this assessment, and I grant that making champagne is labor intensive. When I lived in France, I visited the caves of the champage house Mercier. The cave had thousands upon thousands of bottles resting in it. Each bottle is turned a very precise quarter of a turn every 3 months for two years BY HAND. Needless to say, when I drink Mercier, I think of those hands turning the bottle.

Anyway, this mythology of champagne results in people believing they should only drink it on special occasions. I had a party recently where I offered champagne as a beverage option and no one would drink it! I think everyone needs to revise their definitions of "special occasions" because in my view, I cannot think of a better occasion for champagne than a group of girlfriends getting together to talk and play a game of cards (poker, not bridge).

But, back to the main point, after you buy your pate at Harris Teeter, stop by Foster's on the Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd (15-501 Business) and pick up a bottle of Charles de Fere Blanc de Blancs Brut. Or buy it online (type it into google and you'll get many options). Blanc de Blancs champagnes are made solely w/ the chardonnay grape. Many view this as the most elegant champagne of all.

This bottle is not actually champagne since the owner ,Jean-Louis Denois, makes his wine 20 miles outside of the Champagne region. Technically only bottles made in the region merit the label Champagne. Isn't that just like the French?

Anyway Monsieur Denois is a competent winemaker and his Charles de Fere Blanc de Blancs Brut has a lovely golden color that I expect from a high end Champagne but not in a run of the mill sparkling wine or proscecco. It is dry and crisp with a fresh bouquet and absolutely perfect as aperitif with pate, salmon, or nuts before you dive into dinner or at a cocktail party. The BEST part of all is that this cost me $15 and it is available online for half that!

So the next time you have a party, buy this one!

If you are getting married or having a baby or graduting from you PhD or if you really, REALLY love someone, then buy a Salon de Mesnil Blanc de Blancs. That's at the very high end where there is actually a difference. It will set you back a couple of hundred dollars.


Krista said...

Thanks for the recommendation Kelly...I'll have to try that out. Always on the lookout for a good-value champagne.

PS LOL@the Baptist reference; I had a Baptist friend tell me its not that they don't drink,they just don't want the preacher to know about it!

Brina said...

Thanks for writing this.