Friday, January 11, 2013

The Champagne Conundrum

Happy New Year. How far into the year can one get away with saying that without sounding weird? My opinion is that the end of the first full week in January is it, no later. Or (assuming you still write the date on anything) as soon as you stop having to think about writing the 3 in 2013.

I digress.

Something I have started to notice over the last couple of years, and confirmed this week by a visit to one of the great restaurants that I sell wine to, is that for New Years Eve a lot of people talk about champagne, but very few people actually drink it.
Now, I'm not talking about sparkling wine in general. Plenty of people drink Cava, Prosecco, Sparkling from California/New Mexico, etc. I'm talking about actual Champagne from France. It curious to me that whenever you see images of NYE, or hear people talk about midnight on that particular occasion, Champagne is always mentioned. However, nobody drinks it.

On the 31st this year, I did a wine tasting at a retail store- in the entire time I was there, not a single person bought a bottle of Champagne. Later, I was at a party with about 30 people this year, most of whom are beyond wine fans and more on the level of aficionados, yet there was only one bottle of actual Champagne on hand. I talked to the GM of a really nice restaurant and he told me that, at midnight on that day, they had about half of the restaurant full, yet not a single bottle of Champagne was on any of the tables.

I wonder why this is. Is it cost prohibitive? I wouldn't think so- you can get into decent Champagne for $40 per bottle. Are people intimidated by it? Possibly.

My best guess is that a lot of people like the idea of Champagne but in reality consider it only a special occasion drink, so they actually know very little about it. That's a post for a different time- you can drink Champagne year-round.

What are your thoughts- did you drink "real" champagne at the stroke of Midnight, January 1, 2013?

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