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January 09, 2011

NV Pierre Delize, Vin Mousseux Brut Blanc de Blancs

One of the first things I learned about Champagne (and sparkling wine) was to watch the bubbles. A steady stream shooting straight up the middle meant quality. One of the two great myths about wine (the second, that "legs" mean quality--unless your idea of quality is high alcohol and sugar). For the most part, bubbles aren't really about the wine. They're about the glass. Sparkling wine is evenly carbonated. There's no drop that has more bubbles than another. (Sounds obvious now, doesn't it?). And so the bubbles are in fact more related to something called a point of nucleation. Where everything explodes. Nature craves chaos, and if bubbly could have its way, it would shoot out in every direction all at once (which, incidentally, is how I feel when I drink a glass of Krug). It's our job to rein it in. Even the clumsy can dance. Even the colicky can sing. And, so, you give even the most vibrant of vin mousseux a platform, a clean bed to bounce on, and it will usually abide. A clean glass with a small etch or divot in the bottom, and you will usually get your "steady stream." Science aside, there's some pretty serious poetry to this. Because this humble, yet elegant Delize chardonnay--that I'm drinking out of the same hand-polished Riedel sparkling wine glass I drank Cristal out of after proposing to my proof-that-life-does-work-out fiancee--looks as good as that glass of Cristal. Which brings me, perhaps, to what sparkling wine has taught me more than anything else. We are only as good as those we are surrounded by. We can be firecrackers. We can be flat and limp of spirit. Dry, austere. Sweet. We can tickle. We can strip the enamel off your teeth. Some say we give them headaches. But in the right company, we all make sense. I hate your friends. You hate mine. And it doesn't matter because they're not here. It's me and you. And, for what it's worth, I like that. I like that it's us. I like that you can have your life, and I can have mine. I like that as dull as others might find me, you see some sort of beauty in it. I like that I admire you because most of the people I know are nothing like you. In this room, here we are. As perfectly whatever as the other needs to be. No, don't ask your mom about me. Don't text 6989 to find out if I'm your match. And who cares if I'm a Gemini, anyway? This is working. This is sparkling. This is how it's supposed to feel on our lips, on our tongues, in our guts with our eyes closed.


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