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Jeff’s Corner 7-19-19

“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” – Coco Chanel

Last Friday night, Kathy and I enjoyed a lovely evening hosted by John Winstead and his fabulous staff at our brand new Heath Sparkling facility. John was gracious enough to open his doors after hours so the old-timers at GCV could check out their state-of-the-art, interactive tasting experience.

It was terrific! The building is beautiful, the view is stunning, the presentation polished and professional, and the bubbly magnificent. A big thanks to Mari, Savannah, Aneleh, Brandon, Richard, Shannon, and John.

The next day I was speaking with John, and he mentioned that one of his biggest challenges will be to convert his guests’ mindset away from thinking of sparkling wine (SW from now on) as strictly celebratory. I commented that we have learned that red wine is not just for breakfast, so as primates we can also realize bubbles are not just for special occasions.

First of all, SW is a near perfect introduction to wine for new wine drinkers (of legal age, of course). It’s carbonated, served very cold, and often has a hint of sweetness. When I was in high school (not of legal age), nothing was more sophisticated than a really cold bottle of Cold Duck.

We drink wine for pleasure, and few beverages are as pleasurable as bubbly. Its tiny bubbles (beads) are beautiful, and watching them rise through a hollow stemmed flute is mesmerizing. In a study by Moet & Chandon, it was estimated there are 50 million bubbles in a 5oz glass.

SW may be the very best beverage with which to begin your next dinner party. Most hors d’oeuvres are very salty (salt is a tough match with wine), and the high acidity in bubbly tolerates and tempers the salt. Also, the carbonation speeds the entry of alcohol into our bloodstream, and gets the laughter and conversation flowing early on.

Champagne cocktails are also an awesome aperitif before meals. Mimosas are ubiquitous at brunch, and I’ve written about both the French 75 and Kir Royale in Jeff’s Corner. Ernest Hemingway enjoyed his Death in the Afternoon (Absinthe and Champagne), which was named after his epic book about bull fights in Spain.

Finally, sparkling wine’s versatility with food should never be overlooked. It pairs beautifully with almost every cheese imaginable, so if you want to host a wine and cheese party look no further than a Blanc de Blanc and a Brut Rose, both of which are produced by Heath Sparkling.

With dinner, pair bubbles with anything you would typically pair with a white wine. The high acid and carbonation compliment one another, and do well with shell fish dishes high in salt and fat like shrimp Alfredo, lump crab au gratin, lobster Thermidor, and oysters Bienville or Rockefeller.

With all this said, if you still want to think of bubbly as a celebratory beverage, let’s decide to celebrate life everyday, because everyday is indeed precious.

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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