Tuesday, September 24, 2013

This Charming Dame Lesson 6 - Always Have a Bottle of Bubbly On Hand

"Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions.  Sometimes the special occasion is that you've got a bottle of champagne in the fridge."
     -Hester Browne

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Can I interest you in a glass of bubbly, Kitten?  Yes?  In that case, I think it's safe to say that we can continue this beautiful friendship of ours.

I am a huge fan of bubbly, or sparkling, if you will...  I am one of those annoying people who refuse to refer to everything as simply 'champagne'.  Champagne is a very specific term for sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France.  Most of what Americans consider 'champagne' merely because it has bubbles is really sparkling, or as I like to refer to it as 'bubbly'.

Whether it hails from France or Italy or Spain or California, it's always a good idea to keep at least one bottle on hand.  You know, for emergencies or special occasions or impromptu celebrations.  Which brings me to the much anticipated and long overdue sixth installment of the This Charming Dame Series.  An integral aspect of incorporating more glam into the everyday is always being prepared for a toast.

There is something quite magical about bubbly and it is well-documented that many people have had quite the love affair with it for a very long time.  From authors to designers to winemakers to actors to economists to Presidents to Prime Ministers to Emperors to monks and even Royal Mistresses, there has been an intoxication of the senses by and a fascination with a glass of sparkling wine.

"There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne."
     -Bette Davis

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more champagne."
     -John Maynard Keynes

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right."
     -Mark Twain

"I'll drink your champagne.  I'll drink every drop of it, I don't care if it kills me."
     -F. Scott Fitzgerald

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There are quite a number of reasons to pour yourself a glass of bubbly.

"I only drink champagne on two occasions.  When I am in love and when I am not."
     -Coco Chanel

"In success you deserve it and in defeat, you need it."
     -Winston Churchill on champagne

"I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate...And I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself."
     -Napoleon Bonaparte

"I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad.  Sometimes, I drink it when I'm alone.  When I have company I consider it obligatory.  I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and I drink it if I am; otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty."
     -Madame Bollinger

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Whatever your personal reasons for keeping a bottle or two or however many you like on hand (I'm SO not judging you), make sure you always stop yourself from consuming the bottle(s) you keep around for unannounced company.

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I've also found it quite a good idea to keep some frozen orange juice in your freezer as well, just in case your company is in the mood for a mimosa.  I do not drink juice on any type of regular basis, so while it's not fresh squeezed, it will most definitely work in a bind!

One more thing that I've found to be helpful is belonging to a sparkling club.  I belong to South Coast Winery's Sparkling Club in Temecula and I love it!  They offer eight different types of sparkling ranging from the classic Brut and Blanc de Blanc to more unique sparkling varietals such as their Pinot Noir Rose and their Ruby Cuvee which is a sparkling Syrah.  Sweet but not too sweet...it's heavenly!  Two weekends ago, I went down with my family for a wine pickup and tasting day, so in addition to the bottle of Mumm I already had, the June and August selections which I was picking up, and two additional bottles I purchased, I'm totally set!

 But I will share more about my Sparkling Club at a later date... Right now, I will simply share what I consider to be the three best California wineries for bubbly - in case you are new to the magic that is sparkling wine.  I don't think you can go wrong with Mumm and Chandon from Napa, or South Coast from Temecula (though you will want to stay away from their Sparkling Pinot Grigio, their Sparkling Gew├╝rtztraminer, and their Diamante Spumante if you are not a fan of super sweet).

Though I wouldn't suggest trying all of them one right after the other...you might end up like Tallulah Bankhead, drinking out of your shoe.  Unless you're into that kind of thing, in which case, have at it!
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If this lesson made you thirsty (and I can't blame you if it did) here is a diddy for you while you pop your bottle of choice.  If you are unfamiliar with Champagne Charlie, I highly suggest you spend the three minutes and get yourself acquainted:

To see my inspiration for the 'This Charming Dame' series, please visit Quite Continental Charm School.

Cheers Kittens!  Just make sure to save a bottle for company!

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