I blame it all on James Bond. Really I do. Because that is where it all began. My interest in vintage cars, my penchant for international travel, my fascination with gadgets I don’t know how to work, and my love of a man in a suit (I’m a sucker for a double Windsor knot and a set of sexy cuff links).
But what I’m really talking about here is my obsession with Champagne.
I think for most people, Champagne is something you celebrate or toast with. Maybe something you enjoy on New Year’s Eve and probably don’t think about again for the rest of the year. There’s the type of person who might order a glass while she looks over the menu at a restaurant, appreciating the aperitif quality of the bubbles… but she probably doesn’t fuss too much over which Champagne she is actually drinking. Then there’s me. I drink it everyday. And I care, as if the balance of the world depended on it, what it is, who made it, where it comes from (within Champagne, of course) and what’s in it.
James Bond cared too.
Most of us remember that Bond loved martinis. If you do remember his penchant for Champagne you probably know he preferred Bollinger. My favorite moment is actually in Dr. No (1962) when James shows up to have dinner with Dr. No who is trying to impress Bond by pointing out the 1955 Dom Perignon, noting that it would be a “pity to break it.” James Bond, smugly and coolly, responds that he actually prefers the ‘53 and sits down to dinner.
There are beautiful and light Champagnes that are great as starter drinks (Bouchard Inflorescence), there are complex ones that can be thought over all night (Jacques Selosse’s Subtance or Pascal Doquet 1997), there are rounder, heartier Champagnes that benefit from food (Charles Ellner Seduction 1999). I also think of Champagne as the perfect finish… lightens the sweetness of your dessert and matches perfectly with Red Velvet Cake (Pierre Gimonnet et Fils or Egly Ouriet Rose). In fact, I think it is also the perfect beverage to sneak into a movie theater on a rainy afternoon, even if you have to drink it out of plastic cups (Billecart-Salmon Brut).
James Bond taught me that you can (and should) drink Champagne anytime. And while its innate luxuriousness and sexiness is obvious (James Bond would never drink or do anything unsexy), I think there are two real lessons here:
1. Champagne is wine and has fantastic pairing capabilities and should be enjoyed equally on its own as well as explored with various food flavors.
2. Life is short. Drink Champagne. It’s sexy and will make you feel glamorous.
I consider myself lucky. I fell in love with a man who loves Champagne as much as I do. In fact, one of the first questions I ask “wine” people is “If you were a wine what would you be?” To this, my boyfriend responded Champagne. Specifically, he responded with one of my favorite Champagnes. Good answer.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he looks great in a suit.