Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I'm getting out my beret. And not the old Frenchman-with-the- baguette-under-his-arm-and-a-liter-of-red-wine-in-his-paw beret, but rather the revolutionary El Che beret – cigar and beard and firearms and all. This is my Champagne manifesto.
• Champagne is a wine.
• Champagne is made with craft, skill and devilish deliciousness by passionate vignerons.
• No bubbly from elsewhere comes close to its depth, precision and minerality.
• Heavily spackled big house Champagne with lashings of sugary dosage is anathema.
• Trend snobs who say there is no terroir in Champagne should be deprived of any and all of it for good.
So? What are the Champagne lover's commandments?
• Thou shalt quaff of the bubbles even outside of accepted festive moments (baby showers, weddings, New Year's eve);
• Thou shalt seek out diverse expressions of Champagne: Aÿ ≠ Mareuil! Vertus ≠ Cramant! And 2g/l ≠ 7g/l...;
• Thou shalt not be partisan, that said, of a particular grape. No whining, "I love the powerful Pinot Noir" or "I'm a Blanc de Blancs chick" (all right, I have to say 10,000 hail Dom Pés for that);
• A big Champagne house can make good wine (Henriot! Bollinger!); yet
• Big house Champagnes are not to be patronized except in extremis (Veuve Clicquot?! Mumm?! Moët, for the love of god?!) and the prices! Compare Pierre Moncuit to Canard-Duchêne and weep;
• Thou shalt seek out new and unheard-of producers. Raise a toast to Vouette et Sorbée here, please. And tell me every last underground tip...
Phew. Militantism is exhausting. I think I need something to quench my thirst...