The Night I Invited Champagne Out To Dinner

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…


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