Friday, April 9, 2010

A Champagne Primer: What You Need to Know

Whether it be a celebration such as New Year's Eve or a Sunday morning mimosa I look for any excuse I can find to enjoy a glass of champagne. Yes, I enjoy champagne, and I also realize that some people consider it a foo-foo or girly drink. I don't agree, although I am more likely to reach for a beer or whiskey I truly enjoy champagne. That's why I got excited when I picked up a Complex Magazine from a few months ago and they had an informational page about champagne. I specifically like the part where they give you advice on reading the label of a champagne bottle. Here is a sample of the wonderful information provided by Complex with some of my comments mixed in:
1. Vintage vs. Non-Vintage: Ummm, you only drink non-vintage so don't worry about this one. Vintage is the expensive stuff.
2. Sweet vs. Dry: This is a scale from the driest champagne type to the sweetest: extra brut (driest), brut, extra dry, sec, demi-sec, doux (sweetest).
3. Designation: The three choices here are premier cru (best), grand cru, and not rated. The designation is the quality rating of the vineyard in which the grapes were grown. Most of what regular people drink is not rated. Complex points out that if champagne is not rated it doesn't mean it's crap, it's just not rated. I think I had a grand cru one time at a tasting, but I can't remember for sure.
4. NM vs. RM: RM on the label means the grapes come from a single grower. NM means the grapes come from multiple growers. Again, you are probably not high class enough for one of these choices.

My enjoyment of champagne is but one of the many contrasts in my life. I am a walking juxtaposition. If nothing else, consider this a license to be a man and still enjoy champagne. I am secure enough in my manhood to admit I like champagne, read and write poetry, and own a bichon-frise. I also have a beard, like hot women, own guns, and scratch myself. Think I'm a wuss? Want to fight me? Remember, I have guns. My wife makes fun of me because I have these bitchy rules for mimosa consumption. I will list them here for posterity to laugh at.
1. There are no rules on orange juice to champagne ratio. Pour to taste.
2. Mimosas must be consumed only on Sunday with one exception- New Year's Day. Regardless of what day New Year's falls on, it is acceptable to have mimosas to begin the new year. If you haven't tried it I encourage you to get a nice mimosa buzz before you watch the NFL on Sunday. It's freaking awesome.
3. Mimosa consumption must begin before noon on Sunday. It can continue to through 2PM regardless of what time you start as long as it begins before noon. Did I just make too big of a deal out of champagne? Yes, I did.

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