Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Champagne under the stars

It was unbelievably beautiful in Normandy this weekend, where we went once again, this time for Marc and Sarah's wedding.

After a failed attempt to participate in the wedding - there were about 60 guests too many to fit into the town hall meeting room where the mayor of Blonville-sur-Mer presided over the ceremony, and unfortunately, we were among the stragglers - we threw rose petals, kissed the bride and groom, and then repaired to our manor house hotel outside of Pont-l'Evêque for a nap.

At 7pm, we drove through a dipping, winding road back to Blonville-sur-Mer for the reception.

Marc's parents' country manor has a name, which I learned because it was on the invitation. When we had parked up the road and walked to the entrance gates, I saw there was a large tent for the dinner, which would come later - but for now, among the apple trees, several white-canopied stands studded the vast lawn. And on the stands, here, some canapés, there, a caterer slicing foie gras and topping it with spoonfuls of mango chutney. And, oh, on three of the stands, gigantic punch bowls full of water, ice, and bottles of NV Pierre Gimonnet Brut 1er Cru "Cuis".

I love this precise, elegant, utterly harmonious grower brut. Light tastes of unbaked bread, white flowers, and apple. It was delicious, and went well with the seafood hors d'œuvres caterers were walking around and offering us, from prawn beignets to bass samossas to smoked salmon puffs. So, we dawdled. We commingled. We laughed and talked. Alexandre cited Shakespeare in charmingly accented English.

And, as the evening fell, we sipped flute after flute, until it was almost too dark to see, and then we headed for the tent.

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