The Monaco Man’s Drink: Champagne

A proud Mark Webber with a magnum of champagne

In the flurry of beverage advertisements and new beers to tickle your taste-buds, it’s interesting to know that a lady admires a man who can hold a champagne glass. Not just any champagne glass, but a glass or flute that contains an expensive bubbly from the Champagne region of France.

Not all champagnes ARE champagnes. You see, many a company likes to disguise their champers with fancy labels showing swirls and signature fonts and text half translated in French, but they are only sparkling wines. Let’s indulge ourselves in a little history lesson to clearly understand the uniqueness of this divine drink.

Champagne comes from the region of Champagne, 90 miles northeast of Paris. This is an important fact since that region under the law is the only place in the world where you are allowed to produce champagne. Anywhere else — Russia, Italy, California, and numerous other locations — it is called sparkling wine.

In 1668, in the abbey of Hautvilliers in the city of Épernay (which is the center of the Champagne region), the monk Dom Pierre Perignon, invented champagne by assembling different wine and re-fermenting everything in barrels until it produced bubbles. The famous monk had discovered the secret of Champagne, which he describes himself as “drinking stars”. So the next time you drink a pricey Dom Pérignon that Moët & Chandon produces, you are enjoying a true legend!

Drinking the Stars!

While treating yourself to a glass of champers every New Year’s Eve and enjoying the sensation of bubbles dancing on your tongue is enough to appease the huddled masses, many a Man is turning to the delicate and sophisticated drink on sporting occasions that require it. These include Formula 1 racing, The Polo, The Races (Melbourne Cup is on its way), Skiing, Sailing and Cycling.

Enjoying silver service at the Races...

Now, let’s say you enjoy the events at the above sports, and you want to try opening a bottle for your lovely lady at home. So here are the ABC’s of opening a bottle of Champagne.

A bottle of champagne should be put in an ice bucket 40 minutes prior to serving or better yet, always keep it handy in your fridge. The biggest problem with champagne is properly opening the bottle. Champagne etiquette forbids anyone to pop the cork like a ballistic missile; it is not conventional and dangerous for your guests. The pressure in the bottle can seriously injure a bystander. If you have trouble with twisting the cork, place a napkin around it and twist slowly until you feel it is about to release and them make sure it pops off slowly. (You will hear a pop, just not a glass shattering one).

With a napkin James, not a sword.

Dom Perignon is a classic and prestigious champagne produced by Moët & Chandon; it costs approximately $110 per bottle. You could also try a Krug Grande Cuvée , or my personal favorite, a Veuve Cliquot Carte Jaune at an astonishing low price of $35. Yes, it’s not going to break the bank ‘drinking the stars’.

Veuve Cliquot is popular at the races, the ski resorts and in my fridge.

Veuve Cliquot Sailing / Cruising Collection - yes. please.

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