In my career, I’m asked to describe a wine well enough to sell it. That entails telling a buyer about the vineyard sites, history of the winemaker, and anything else I can conjure up to make the wine sound alluring. I’ve studied my style, changed it over the years, and ripped off other people’s pitches when I would hear something worth the take. Through investigation, I’ve noticed we are all leaving out the obvious, and most important component of the sale; the grape.
So, I’ve decided to have dinner with said grapes. Not on purpose mind you. When a dinner date arises, many wine choices are put on the judgement block – basically because a lot of wines are looming around my house. And listen, when I am out with friends, I want to drink what I like. I happen to like champagne; a lot. Last night, a bottle of champagne came along specifically for a celebratory toast. Now, let’s stop here for a moment. When you are toasting, please don’t bring something good. There are few people in your party that are going to drink the stuff. Bring something that is actually palatable. A friend had a bottle of Korbel over the weekend, and I almost knocked her over the head with it. As I always say; you are better than that.
I also need to admit, I am a creature of habit. I am surrounded by amazing restaurants, many BYOB (thank you Montclair you beautiful town), but still end up at the same damn places. SLA Thai is a place that screws me up; I have found myself dreaming of her Pad Thai, and wanting to transport myself immediately to her door – not thinking of my mood, what I want to drink, what is close to my home (I am really lazy). Why does this food make me crazy – I can’t tell you. I’ve had Thai so many times before and after experiencing this place, but I’m left enchanted. They just get me.
Back to that bottle of Champagne. The choice: Maison De Grand Esprit, “Marquis De La Mysteriale”. Here is a quickie; this wine is from Champagne: the viticultural area in France. Soooooooo, we can call it Champagne. Get it? All other places make a “sparkling wine”. Now, in Champagne, they choose to use a combination of the following grapes; chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier. After a search of the internet and my brain, I’m presuming this one is all chardonnay, or at least I want it to be. Pretty fruit, crisp, bright; not heavy on the palate at all. Thank goodness for that – who needs that damn Pinot Noir anyway. Hating it.
I know, from my vast wine experience and my growing waistline, that Champagne and spicy food will prevail. What I didn’t predict was how this specific bottle would elevate the experience. The wine paired with every dish on the table – a difficult task. I forgot I was supposed to disregard it, and instead, kept on drinking it. It stood up as a wine; not backing down to the heavily flavored food before me. LOVED it with a short ribs dish. SHORT RIBS AND CHAMPAGNE? It worked; that’s all I know.
Seeing a Champagne bottle may make you happy, get you excited, create some drama for the evening….we’ve all been there. What I would like you to do, next time, is stop for a second and taste the wine. Make a judgement. Watch how it will change with a food choice. Drink it throughout the meal. Pair it with a dessert. Remember it is chardonnay (with maybe a few other friends thrown in), and experience it as a chardonnay. Love it as a chardonnay. Or just forget this blog, pair it with a bubble bath, a movie, a really good looking man – but still have an opinion. About the wine that is…