The Ahh-lure of Champagne

Champagne is our talisman. When not launching a ship, champagne is handy for getting the evening underway. Little bubbles transport us. Imagine yourself at St. Pancras International Station in London, watching the trains go by at the longest champagne bar in the world (96 meters). Or flirting with Cary Grant over pink champagne in An Affair to Remember.

True Champagne is made from white Chardonnay grapes combined with two reds, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The natural bubbles arise from the second fermentation, which occurs in the bottle, stored on its side for up to three years. After gradual turning and tilting, the sediment floats to the neck of the bottle. In a clever bit of engineering, the sediment is then frozen inside the bottle and removed by popping the cap. Voila, time to cork and label. Knowing of this lengthy and loving process enhances our first sip of the the real thing.

Coupe, Flute, Tulip, or a paper cup? Yes! Or seek advice from the magazine Glass of Bubbly.

Champagne is both drinkable and wearable. What color is it? Fashion colorists define it as beige slightly tinged with a pale yellowish-orange. But bubbly can range from fabulous flamingo to amber or rose. Think your skin color is all wrong to try it? Add a bright lipstick and a bit of blush. Then, in a pearly gown, channel a 30s siren or a torch singer in a pale spotlight.

But off-white tints needn’t suggest formality. Think Marilyn on an early morning beach or an island girl at her Ibiza lunch table. Strut a champagne chemise beneath summer white or the tawny colors of fall. Consider ice-pink or peach. Give a prim white blouse a boost with a glimpse of camisole in a shade called “petal.” Together these subtle yet pleasing off-whites create a charming palette to wear throughout the day.

And enjoy a sip of champagne. As Madame Bollinger is quoted (in Jonathan Ray’s little book Bubbly):  “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it--unless I’m thirsty.”

-Kate L

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