NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Champagne Reims Brut
This is the review that won't matter. That won't come up in Google searches, won't be linked to from any major websites, except maybe blogs on Mark Twain. Because there are lies, damn lies, and mass-produced Champagne. And the numbers--some 10 million cases, 90 billion milliliters, or 760 million glasses a year--show that no half-truth is more persuasive than the power of Veuve Clicquot, the mystique of the Madame Widow Grande Dame. More timely, perhaps, that's 24 million gallons of this crude, gurgling liquid a year--or about as much as what BP just produced in the Gulf of Mexico. So, go on, be persuaded. But let me try to convince you otherwise, just this one time. I know, I know it's one of the first Champagnes you tried and then you went to fancy cocktail parties and still it was there. You had mimosas on the Riviera with it. You toasted your niece's wedding with it. The dockmaster christened your first yacht with a bottle, a ribbon, and some novelty scissors. And then just the other night you watched MTV Cribs and it was there, too, being brought up from the basement by an actual servant. All this wasn't just for show--it actually validated your thinking. Not "thinking" really, but your understanding. Well, no, not that. Your pedigree, your upbringing--your auspices. And I guess that's why--really to all our loss--Champagne is such a celebratory wine instead of the daily, I-love-myself and it's-Happy-Hour wine it really is. Because with wines like Veuve Clicquot's standard brut, you need a reason to open it. To expose yourself to flavors as faintly memorable as the people around you. The in-laws you only see on Easter. The hip Division Head who thinks everyone in the organization is of equal value before going to his summer home in the Andes. They taste this steely, like the aluminum wrapper of a lemon-poppyseed cupcake on your molars. As sweet and flabby as the girl who broke up with you the second week of summer camp. As bitter and zesty as quinine, as the gin tonics you guzzle at the cash bar, plunging your tongue past the ice, thinking who the hell are all these people. And though noticeably better, with enough heady, bold mushroom and raspberry aroma to, for just a moment, make you think the French were really on to something, you can drink the basic Veuve and see exactly where so many cheap sparkling producers get their influence. The Andre, the Cristalino, the Martini & Rossi. They all come from this. And they suck ass because I think the people who work there must get Veuve Clicquot at their holiday parties, on their yearly bonuses. Maybe it's the first result on Google. Here's the good stuff, boys! Guzzle up. Throw a fucking strawberry in there while you're at it. Well go ahead. Throw a strawberry in there. Make a fucking white sangria with some punch. Bitch, top off your bellini. But quit lying to me. Serve this, but quit telling me it's good. Quit telling me it goes with everything, including sushi. Quit putting it in a four-ply tri-fold cardboard box with a free etched Champagne flute. And, while you're at it, quit calling it Champagne. But keep calling it brute.