Finally, finally after three years of fretting over when to drink a gleaming bottle of Amour de Deutz 1999 Champagne, the answer is obvious: now.
I love bubbles. Bubbles of all kinds: soapy, frothy, foamy, bubble-bath-y, summer bubble blowing with kids in the sunshine…. and champagne. And here’s where the snobbery enters.
It must be champagne proper. Which means that is comes only from a tiny region of northeast France, called Champagne. And it means it made is a very specific way: la Méthode Champenoise. And, not just any grape is allowed. Only three grapes are possible to use in a true champagne: Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The history, tradition and snobbery all add to the lure for me. It is expensive and I don’t care. It is exclusive and I do care. You know precisely what you’re getting when you pop a champagne cork (which you should never do, by the way) instead of the horrifying puzzle of what grapes were used and how much crude CO2 has been injected into a thick-bottomed bottle masquerading as something elegant and rich.
With a true champagne you know the house has decades of connection with the land it nurtures, because no new land plots can be added to the controlled region. You know there are no sneaky sweetners pumped into the mixture and that the bottle you’re drinking has rested for at least 1.5 years, probably in a beautifully dark and mysterious chalky cellar deep in the earth (yes, really, the bottles are stored in underground caves, I have visited several).
Therefore, with all this wonderfulness, tradition, process and story, I thought carefully about the very best moment to pop the cork on this particular bottle, a single vintage bottle (deemed an outstanding year, otherwise they do not produce a ‘vintage’). I wished to pay respect to this magical golden cuvée…. to toss it down the hatch without a second thought about its journey would be a most reckless and barbaric act!
Then came today….. December 21st, 2012. The horizon was a brilliant gold thread with ominous blue cloud hanging low. I wondered whether the blazing gold would burst through or if the weight of the blue would crush it.
The gold exploded and I blinked away the sunbursts in my eyes. If this was the apocalypse, it was beautiful. The best apocalypse yet!
I had supposed the end of the Mayan calendar simply signified the end of a cycle. A shift—subtle, but a shift no less—into a new Time.
So why not celebrate this shift? Tomorrow night, with dear friends, we will incorrectly pop the cork on this bottle, consider its and our individual journeys and drink up the magical golden goodness. We will be thoughtful but not serious.
Perhaps we’ve stepped into the era of Now. The era of Why Not? The era of in-the-moment and busting through old patterns that no longer serve us. Perhaps in this era we (I!) can “go for it” (whatever that may be) without waiting for perfection.
Santé to you, to Now and the Beautiful Apocalypse!
Above: Amour de Deutz Champagne 1999 illuminated by the apocalyptic sky burst on December 21, 2012. Beautiful.
P.S. I would still love to have a Champagne house, but maybe on my bottles I’d have a unicorn and I’d warn people that consumption may generate secret magical powers.
Images via Deutz Champagne, original sky & bottle Glamorous Monk images.
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