Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I believe that the achievement of life's milestones are worth celebrating.

Events like weddings, retirement parties, engagement parties, the-first-time-you- get-designer-shoes-on-clearance celebrations, etc.

And I believe there is one way to celebrate such milestones: with champagne

Yesterday I recieved my first ever bonus at my job, something I was not expecting and very excited about. So, to celebrate, I stopped at our local liquor store on the way home to pick up some bubbly to celebrate with Adam.

I have to confess that I am a bit of a champagne neophyte. Besides knowing that real champagne only comes from France, and knowing that I love Veuve Cliquot, I know really nothing else. Normally at restaurants they only offer 1 or 2 sparklings by the glass (that cost under $20) so I never really have a tough choice to make.

And I have another confession to make: I am a bottle whore. Note that I did not say "label whore" because I could not care a whit about what vineyard or region it is from. But a pretty bottle? This is something that turns my head. An interesting cork decoration? Have To Have It!

So last night, I come across this spumante (Italian sparkling wine):

Note the pretty gold top? The nice shape? Counter in the facts that I was already laden down with a bottle of Jameson and two bottles of pinot gris, and that it was reasonably priced and you know now why it had to come home with me.

So after dining on a celebratory dinner of artichoke and goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts, we cracked open the bubbly.

Now, I am bit of a wus when it comes to popping champagne bottles. Simply put? It freaks me out. I like both of my eyes and would like them to stay intact. So I moved over to the sink, put a dish towel over the cap and twisted, with my eyes tightly clenched.


I made the font small because that's what the sound was. Tiny. And little wonder since it was a SCREW CAP!

Now, I am no slouch. I don't mind screw cap wine. In fact I sometimes prefer it. It travels better than regular corked wine (I never have a corkscrew around when I need one). The Ca' Del Solo line of wines is screw cap and I adore them. And although the idea of a screw top sparkling was slightlty off putting, whatevs. Let me at those bubbles.

So Adam and I clinked glasses, toasted to each other (he also got a bonus and a promotion earlier in the month) and sipped. It was sweet, it was slightly fizzy.

It was Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler*: The sparkling version

Not literally..but basically.

So I went to the label (which I ought to have done first) and examined the text under the word "Spumante"

"Italian malt beverage"

Say what??

I guess this is what happens when you look more at the bottle than at the label. But you know, it was not half bad.

So I guess what I learned is: why drink champagne when you can drink champagne coolers?

*They recently reissued the Original B&J which I never got to sample the first time around, being underaged and whatnot, but I find it now to be 1) actually quite tasty and 2) silly and conversation provoking. Not a bad combo


Nicky said...

First: congrats on the bonus!
Second: hahahahaha!!!
You got an Italian 40-oz? That's fabulous! Did you pour some on the ground and say, "This one's for my amici". (Sparce Italian vocab, sorry). I too was terrified of popping champagne. Somewhere along the line, however, I decided there must be a way to do it properly. I now have it mastered. The cork doesn't go anywhere but into my hand. No broken windows. No shattered corneas. I'm very proud of myself. C'mon over and we'll have some sparkling wine! (since the champaigne I get isn't actually from Champaigne).

Nicky said...

P.S. I MUST try out your chicken recipe. Maybe I'll make it next week. Sounds delish!!! I tried my hand at egg drop soup last night (we have a Wed soup club here at work). I'll see how it goes down w/everyone today.

Sarah said...

i am definitely coming over for sparkling wine. and i will bring some sparkling 40s to show that we are still women of the people.

have you seen Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Even if you have, we should watch it again. I love it.

Mr. & Mrs. Cappella said...

A bonus!! that's great!! CONGRATS!!

Lindsay said...

Congratulations! That is exceptional! Your chicken recipe sounds sooooo good.

alisa said...

Because I have champagne taste on a tap water budget I have discovered Cava. It is Spanish sparkling wine and it si yummy and doesn't leave a headache the morning after. I recommend "Crystalino" or "1+1=3." I can get the Crystalino at the NH liqor store for under $10. Now there's a reason to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

Around christmas we got a cheap bottle of champange and put it in the freezer (to later use for mimosa's).. Gary took it out.. popped it.. and frozen champange and the cork went flying around the kitchen..a half bottle of frozen champange ended up on the ceiling. and the cork smashed some glasses .. Im terrified now opening the bottles.

oh.. and..



Sarah said...

see! that right there is my biggest fear. champagne corks = treacherous!

thanks :-)

kate.d. said...

oh my god, i have the worlds most embarassing champagne cork story.

my sister and i were at my old apartment in allston, and my roommate had this old bottle of Andre on the counter. Andre, for those of you not in the know, if the cheapest nastiest champagne in the world. so of course, we asked my roommate if we could drink it.

i was charged with popping the cork. we got the foil off the top, and had a huge laugh at the fact that a)the cork was plastic, and b) it had little pictorial instructions about how not to point the bottle at your face or anything while opening it. because seriously, they know their clientele, and the fact that many cannot even read.

oh, how funny it was, until i decided that the best way to pop the cork would be to aim it into the sink. into the sink.

am i the dumbest person in the universe?? is my sister the second dumbest, for not stopping me??

that plastic cork came out like a gunshot (and just about as loud), ricocheted (luckily) right past my face, and all the way down the hallway. seriously, the thing travelled like 75-100 feet.

and that, my friends, is my most humbling moment ever. i almost took my own eye out with a 5 dollar bottle of champagne.

(ps - congrats on the bonus :) )

The Pink Kitty said...

Congrats on the bonus! :)

Nicky said...

Ok girls, it seems some instruction is in order. Popping Champaingue is indeed a scary prospect. Especially since we all enjoy having our eyeballs in the sockets where we left them. Here's how to do it properly and look classy & cultured (hey, if I can fool people, you can too!). I prefer to cover the cork with a small kitchen towel, but do whatever floats your boat. I'm telling you, one of the proud moments of my life so far was not killing a soul as I opened a bottle of bubbly (yes, I'm aware of how sad that is) Here ya go:

By the way, Sarah - I see you, me, fondue and champange in the near future. (o; Maybe I'll host some sort of spring soiree?

Andy said...

Congrats Baby! Work the Bubbly (of any sort!)

Sarah said...

kate d: i totally saw Andre last night. $3.99 for champagne? Aint bad :-)

Nicky: sounds like a plan! set that shizz up!

Andy: thanks boo!

Heather said...

I'm with you on the pleasures of the "champagne cooler." Every year my aunt will bring a bottle of Moet for Christmas and I actually prefer the flavor of a $5 bottle of Spumante! Congrats on your bonus!!!

ugagirl16 said...

That chicken sounds delicious.....and congrats on your bonus -- That is awesome!!! I haven't had a sip of alcohol since last Cinco De Mayo --- so ANYTHING sounds PERFECT to me at this point :)

Norwego said...

Can I recommend Prosecco? It's a sparkling wine from Italy and it's FABULOUS. Not expensive either. It's in the sparkling/champagne section. Get the yellow bottle (not the blue). Here's the official name:

II Mionetto Prosecco

Sarah said...

you have great taste, girl. i LOVE prosecco! definitely my favorite sparkling so far (besides champagne). good call.