What really interests me, however, is the intersection between champagne (I’m using this word loosely now, meaning any sparkler) and culture. A symbol of wealth and power for centuries, champagne screams-I mean fizzes- luxury and indulgence, which is why it attracts so many people. For perhaps the first time I’ve noticed the way packaging may influence someone’s decision to buy, even more so with champagne than with any other bottle. The name on the bottle and the bottle itself are the sought after items, more so in some cases that what is inside.
Take for example the beautiful vintage Perrier-Jouet Fleur we have in the store, (1999), painted with delicate flowers and accompanied by two painted glasses. We have the upgraded (2000) Dom Perignon case, which opens in a modern way with a button on the bottom. Trendy Veuve Cliquot comes in a yellow travel case, also equipped with two glasses, made especially for the ultra-hip. And then there are the oddly understated Cristal bottles, simply wrapped in yellow cellophane. Moet Chandon will stud any bottle with Swarovski crystals to your liking for a pretty penny. (Like the ones given out at a marc jacobs show)
Although my eye and fancy is distracted momentarily by these proud peacocks displaying their feathers, my palate yearns for something more simplified. My favorites have to be the Domaine Carneros Brut and Brut Rose, both of which I’ve written about before. These Californian sparklers are elegant and have the perfect amount of fruit and fizziness, and are reasonably within budget. Delicate and delicious. After the carbonation goes to your head and a champagne high sets in, who need crystals, anyway?