A birthday and an anniversary yesterday. We’re promiscuous bubble-quaffers, and any vaguely celebration-worthy event soon finds us tickling our noses. So there’s almost always an inexpensive bottle in the fridge waiting for an excuse to have its cork popped. Usually, this it’s one of the ubiquitous Spanish cavas. Occasionally, it’s a Washington State Domaine Ste. Michelle, where we once spent a wonderful evening. Whatever it is, it’s usually a perfectly decent $10-12 bottle.

For yesterday’s double celebration, I went for double the price, a Roederer Estate Brut from California’s Anderson Valley. We’d tasted this before, when we visited the winery a few years ago, and we really liked what we’d sipped. To me, it’s indistinguishable from a good French bottle. Mighty fine.

I’ve had quite expensive Champagne. (I’ve even bought quite expensive Champagne. Every single year the Red Sox have won the World Series.) But, frankly, although I can tell the difference between a $10 Freixenet and the $20 Roederer California, I honestly can’t tell the difference between the Roederer and the next step up. So that’s my limit: $20 bubbly. Until the Sox win again.


One summer’s Saturday way, way, way back, we were participants in a mass cork-popping-for-distance competition in the little field behind my parents’ house.  Many, many bottles, many, many corks, many loud jests and bouts of raucous laughter. One of us actually won. It wasn’t me. A tremendous achievement, remembered and remarked upon to this day.

Distance events aside, I was taught long ago not to really pop the cork on a bottle of Champagne for fear of prematurely releasing all the bubbles. Someone somewhere suggested to me that the sound of a properly opened bottle was identical to “the sigh of a satisfied woman.” I’m clearly no good at one thing or the other. Maybe you’ve got to be French.

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