Tag Archives: Champagne

Wimbledon: the best of British snobbery

Summer starts with Wimbledon.  There is something about the upper echelon of British snobbery that titillates my senses.  This is the type of elitist conversation that I trust is happening at the All England Club this week.

  1. “Only a cad plays tennis on anything but grass”
  2. “Only a slack-jawed hillbilly wears anything but tennis whites”
  3. “Only people with new money talk during a tennis match”

Is there a more aristocratic way of watching a sporting event than a bowl of strawberries and cream? The good old boys ain’t doin’ that at a NASCAR event!

The catering company that works Wimbledon goes through 28 000 kg of strawberries and 7 000 litres of cream to satisfy the visitors. This is what people drink:

  1. 25 000 bottles of champagne
  2. 100 000 pints of draught beer and lager
  3. 200 000 glasses of Pimms
  4. 250 000 bottles of water [why so much water when there is champagne?]
  5. 300 000 cups of tea and coffee [and only 3 of those cups are coffee]

What do we watch the Wimbledon final with in my house?  Strawberries, cream, and champagne. Yes the final is a little early in the morning to be drinking champagne over here on this side of the pond but those expensive tiny bubbles are a great chaser to my morning double espresso.


Lanson is the official champagne of Wimbledon –  it’s $53, but the price of true snobbery should be expensive. Otherwise everybody would be doing it.

LCBO 215962 | Price $ 53.95

Special Occasions

“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” (note posted on our fridge).

VINTAGES 265306 | Price: $ 15.95

Tasting Note
A light cranberry-red in the glass and displaying aromas of cranberry, cherry and a touch of freshly baked bread on the nose. The palate is extremely well balanced with wonderfully integrated bold red fruit flavours, and a superb crisp acidity providing a firm backbone. Quite a lengthy and flavourful finish. Perfect for sipping with that special someone, or pairing with light seafood salads. (VINTAGES panel, May 2011)

Better than a Groundhog

For Groundhog Day I put a bottle of champagne outside my front porch and I saw its shadow so we drank it.

 Also, technically the champagne was a Crémant de Bourgogne and it was delicious.


I’ve been at parties where someone has asked  “Can you open this bottle of champagne for me“. What I would like to do is turn around and yell “Anyone have a sword?” It’s a play on my “Sure I can juggle – anyone have 3 chain saws with them” joke.

This video – sabering champagne – is just another thing my wife won’t let me do at home. Maybe it’s the disclaimer at the beginning of the video.

Do not attempt this yourself… blah blah blah …  enacted by professionals … yada yada yada … mishandling may result in severe injury or death … It’s just this sort of fear mongering that takes the fun out of your trip to the Emergency department. 

Costco Champagne – Booooooo!

My cousin Ed lives in Calgary where the wine flows like beer – you can buy it in the grocery store. You can even buy “Champagne” at Costco.  Ed purchased such “wine”. I did not approve and  have included our correspondance on the matter.  Furthermore, I think we should “boo” people and companies a lot more than we do. Don’t just save it for sporting events. See if you can boo somebody this week.

EdBought a few bottles of (Kirkland Champagne) today. Sometimes you have to forget the label and drink what tastes good! (also got an $11 Segura Viudas Cava for a side by side).

Me - Please don’t buy Kirkland – if you encourage that type of behaviour then 7-11, Mac’s Milk, and Esso will be making their own brand as well. I don’t care if some “sell-out” French guy did make it and then got the buyers drunk over a two hour tour of his estate – it’s just plain wrong.

Edha ha ha ha – wine snobbery at its best! nicely done.

MeCan I use this dialogue as a blog entry – it seems funnier to me each time I read it T

Ed - Yes, I am funny. You have permission to use it. Unfortunately I have to drink my purchase, but I promise not to enjoy it

Poor misguided cousin Ed.  I think I might need to correspond with him more in the future.



Champagne history

I plan to vacation in Reims, the biggest city in the province of Champagne, someday and then travel south.  My only concern is that I might stick around the Champagne region drinking bubbly the entire time – that would  completely ruin my plans.

I just finished reading a book, Champagne: How the World’s Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times, by Don and Petie Kladstup.  Imagine what life has been like for les Champenoise – the people who live smack in between Paris and Germany. From 1870 until the end of WWII three wars were fought on the soil of Champagne. At the end of WWII in 1945 the population of France was actually lower than it was in 1800! Incredible.

A good book on history is a good book of stories.  The stories of Napoleon, Churchill, Capone, many French Kings named Louis, and a few Czars and Kaisers thrown into the mix make for great reading.  Also, if you are interested in drinking great Champagne then the stories of Roederer, Clicquot, and Chandon could be savoured over a flute of “party juice”.

Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times

Best of all, I got it at the library, returned it on time, and saved my money.  Probably should celebrate that with a bottle of the real stuff.

Wine Gadget 101

What is this thing? 

I wish I could figure out how to make this photo rotate and float in space on the page.  What is it? It’s a champagne stopper. It allows me to finish half a bottle of sparkling wine and still have bubbles the next morning for a Mimosa. The stoppers cost about $10, last forever, and work like a charm. Any good kitchen store will have them.

Of course if you are French then you have no use for this – the French saying goes something like this, “A Magnum (double bottle) is the perfect size bottle of Champagne for a man to share with his wife – if his wife isn’t drinking“. Well for the rest of the world, who wasn’t weaned on Champagne,  a champagne stopper is an essential wine gadget.


Cremant in Vintages

The word of the day is Crémant.  What is Crémant? It’s French Fizz – fake Champagne – France’s other bubbly – and it’s real good!

I quite like fake Champagne.  We opened a Friexnet Cava last night because I remembered that it paired well with tuna melts – really my wife makes the best tuna melt ever!  Also, Cava is delicious on its own. Crémant is the French version of Cava – or actually vice versa as any Frenchman would be quick to point out.

One of the reasons I love Cava (Champagne from Spain) is that it doesn’t start at $50 a bottle like “le vrai stuff”.  Champagne is expensive, probably worth it if you can afford it, and fun to drink.  But (“and it’s a big but” – Pee Wee Herman) you can get many sparkling wines that satisfy the palate in search of some luxury.

This weekend the Vintages section of the LCBO is releasing good fake Champagne from France.  Crémant comes from the Loire, Alsace, Bordeaux, and Burgundy – all regions that produce great wine.  Their versions of champagne allow the wine makers to highlight their own regional grapes using the traditional méthode champenoise. If you need my wife’s tuna melt recipe I might be able to get it to you.

France | Louis Bouillot
VINTAGES | 178137 | $ 19.95

Champagne Science & 10,000 hits

10,000 hits on pullthecork makes it the most read blog on my computer and the most talked about blog wherever I go.  Time to celebrate with some Champagne writing.

This was posted in the online Mercury last week.  I think it deserves a repost since many of you, like me,  didn’t renew your subscription to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.  It’s these kinds of studies keep that keep chemistry relevant. Oh and thanks to the staff at the Guelph Mercury for putting my blog button beside the Guelph Roadwork Update and under the Local Singles button. Nothing soothes like a Wine Blog when you’re mad at the City and can’t get a date.


August 15, 2010

PARIS – French scientists say they have settled a question that has long divided champagne lovers: How best to pour the bubbly?

At an angle, not straight down.

The scientists at the University of Reims say pouring bubbly at a slant, as you would a beer, preserves more of the tiny gas bubbles that improve the drink’s flavour and aromas.

The study — On the Losses of Dissolved CO2 During Champagne Serving — appears this week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a U.S. publication.

The researchers say they looked at two ways of pouring champagne: the “traditional” method, with the liquid poured vertically to hit the bottom of the champagne flute; and the “beer-like way,” executed by tilting the glass and gently sliding in the champagne.

They say the study matters not just to champagne drinkers but to glass-makers. They note that the industry is researching a “new generation” of champagne glasses specially designed to control the release of carbon dioxide, the gas that gives the drink its sparkle.

The researchers used bottles of 2008 vintage from Coopérative Nogent l’Abbesse to examine how the two methods of pouring affected the release of CO2.

They said they used two ways to measure the amount of CO2 in each pouring, and tested bottles chilled to varying degrees. The result: champagne poured like beer retained more gas than champagne poured to create a head of “mousse,” or foam.

And the colder the bottle, the less gas was lost, the study found.

It did not say whether professional tasters were called in to confirm their findings, and none of the six researchers could be reached for comment. But their expertise appears formidable: they’re French, their university is in the heart of Champagne country, and lead researcher Gérard Liger-Belair, a professor of chemical physics, is the author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne, a book that appeared in the U.S. in 2004 to admiring reviews.

The study will be presented this month in Boston at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

The verdict in favour of sideways pouring came as no surprise to Guillaume Ranvier, the head of food and beverage at the Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine, whose Café M & Champagne Bar offers around 30 different kinds of champagne from about $100 to $320 a bottle.

“But of course, when I pour a glass of champagne I pour it like that,” he said.

Ranvier said the establishment’s bartender always pours champagne into a tilted glass to keep the bubbles in. Informed that top French researchers had delivered scientific confirmation, Ranvier laughed and said: “Great. I’ll tell the barman when he gets back from vacation.”

The study did not say exactly how many bottles of champagne were uncorked in the interests of science, but the researchers did thank the Pommery champagne house “for regularly supplying us with various champagne samples.”

The Associated Press

Don’t be afraid of “Champagne” from Spain

I can forgive anyone who ignores my New Year’s Resolution #1 – to drink more white wine.  Perhaps white wine is not for everyone. What I can’t understand is when people tell me they never drink Champagne.  Why the heck not?  Champagne is for everyone. In the words of Mark Twain, ” Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”

I have a friend who thinks that he may be a little intimidated by Champagne.  That’s crazy talk that needs to be met head on with therapy – and the Doctor is in! 

There is nothing in the world like Champagne – it delights both the palate and the imagination.  Champagne is delicate, dry, festive, and fun!  That is what wine is supposed to be. 

What is not fun is the price of Champagne. The good stuff starts at $70 at the LCBO. That is a little intimidating. Fortunately, I have a solution.

Cava is just like Champagne for a fraction of the price. Nobody has ever claimed to be intimidated by Cava. Bottled using the Methode Champenoise (translation – the way they make it, by law, in the region of Champagne), it is essentially “Champagne from Spain”.   Cava is dry, has bubbles, and looks great in a flute. 

Open one of these on a week night.  It’s not crazy – it’s Cava!

LCBO 158493  Price: $ 14.45 – green apple, light citrus, dry.

 FREIXENET CORDON NEGRO BRUT LCBO 88591 Price: $ 13.95 –  crisp, apple, pear.

LCBO 6262 | Price: $ 12.20 - may be the most “toasty” of the three

  Also, check out the many Vintages “Champagnes”.  I like a good Crémant de Bourgogne, Alsace, or Loire when the price is right.  I also like a Prosecco – if it is very dry.

Get out and buy yourself two champagne flutes, buy a bottle of “Champagne”, and delight in a little luxury.  Do it!  This means you.


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