Why Champagne?  

warmandsexy52 64M
7186 posts
9/3/2005 1:21 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Why Champagne?

Yesterday we celebrated our success, as we always do, with champagne. With the promise of posting it back on the e-mail, but being very discreet about this forum, I asked my colleagues why are we celebrating with champagne. There are very palatable australian sparkling chardonnays at half the price. So why champagne?

For a start there was a gender difference. A lot of the men raised a glass in the toast, then shot off to the pub to knock back pints of stella artois, have a good, back-slapping, male-bonding time, and no harm in that. Those that remained were pretty matter of fact about champagne. They liked it as tradition, as a ritual we have evolved. They liked the fact that their women friends were enjoying the champagne. One understood how champagne gave an alcohol rush, referring to bubbles, alcohol vapour and the palate. One woman said in response with a look of revelation, “so that’s how I get so heady so quickly.”

So I’m presenting you with a deeply flawed survey. Many of the men had fled, seriously but nicely skewing my sample. I enjoy talking to women and I was, I confess, using an unstructured interview technique, while drinking champagne myself. I didn’t count my interviewees, but I guess I enjoyed spending time with about twenty. But enough of methodology ‒ you want to know what was said.

“It’s expensive.”

“It’s elegant.”

“It’s about luxury.”

In a mock South London accent: “Sue drinks it, ‘cos she’s a posh bird.” And she is, dearest Sue. Oxford first class honours, well-connected, not just fluent but fully articulate in at least two other languages, naturally sophisticated and stylish. She’s a woman who doesn’t need to try ‒ she’s got it, and it’s become unthinkable not to drink champagne when Sue’s around.

“It’s a tradition.”

“It’s stylish.”

“It’s fun.”

“It’s sacrilege, spraying a jereboam all over the place at the end of a Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher ought to be shot, for wasting all that bubbly.”

“What a delightful thing to talk about.”

Some mentioned the effects.

“It makes me feel all warm.”

“The fizz makes me all bubbly”

“I wish you’d asked me earlier ‒ it’s gone to my head already.”

Champagne dependency was a recurring theme in about a quarter of the women I spoke to. In the UK decent champagne costs twenty to thirty pounds, say thirty five to fifty US dollars a bottle. It was frequently the drink of choice, even on a casual basis.

“I’m not the woman to ask,” was one reply. “I’m addicted to the stuff.”

“It’s the only drink you can have at breakfast, lunch, dinner, even four-o’clock, and you don’t get a hangover.”

“Still wine just doesn’t do anything for me … any more.”

And then, of course, the legendary sensuality of champagne. Its visual imagery is erotic, but it goes deeper than that.

“It’s romantic.”

“It makes me feel appreciated.”

“It’s flirtatious.”

“It’s very sexy.”

Three women told me (independently) that it was delicious drunk from a shoe.

“I love having it dribbled all over my body and then licked off. Just like with chocolate,” was one revelation.

In contrast I was told that it doesn’t mix well with sweat. Tastes and preferences ‒ aren’t people different?

So, why champagne? A good sparkling wine was certainly better than a poor champagne. “Cheap champagne is only fit to clean my ring.” There were those champagnes, at the fringe of the appellation, whose only claim to the name was regional. Avoid them. With champagne you get what you pay for, allowing for taste here and there. Here in London Taittinger is very popular. It has smaller bubbles I was told.

“It’s more than getting pissed. A bottle or two of bubbly lambrini will get you pissed. But no more than that.”

“But who’d drink lambrini? Teenagers hang round off-licences (liquor stores) with bottles of lambrini.” Sadly true in London. “And they’re drinking it warm!” Youth, eternally, have much to learn!

Eighteen out of twenty maintained that champagne was a must for an occasion. However good quality, the Australian or Italian alternative just wasn’t the same. With champagne emerged associations, symbols and a unique iconography. Drink champagne and you are adding layers of cultural references, meanings and myths. Champagne might get you drunk, but will add so much more.

I just loved the reply from a dear, dear friend. “If it’s not champagne you are having the experience but missing the meaning.”

That summed it up nicely for me.

warmandsexy52 64M
13164 posts
9/5/2005 4:13 pm

Point taken. Thanks.

rm_jacexprime2 40M
67 posts
9/5/2005 3:39 pm

No no no, you misunderstood me. Getting shunned by a retarded bartender just because you asked for a beer that is out of favor with the locale, is stupid. Not you! lol
Bartenders should be more concerned with profits and so forth, rather than close out patrons who don't happen to agree with his choice in beers.

warmandsexy52 64M
13164 posts
9/5/2005 1:06 pm

Yes. I'm capable of real stupidity. Big time. Not even a well-spoken English accent gets me out of those fixes!

rm_jacexprime2 40M
67 posts
9/5/2005 8:22 am

Bah. Asking for a beer in one city that a rival city produces and getting shunned for it is sheer stupidity. You can never go wrong asking for an import in a place like that, though. Corona is a good one, my favorite as far as non-american beers go. I haven't had many other imports, though, so I imagine there's far better out there.

Never saw LS&TSB. My friend suggested I watch it though. I might have to find it.

warmandsexy52 64M
13164 posts
9/4/2005 3:35 pm

jacex - it was fun to do. Brits have become very eclectic about wine because they import from all over the world. You can buy Moet & Chandon champagne from my local garage and I don't live in that posh a part of town.

South London accent sounds like Vinnie Jones in 'Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels'. Think white Brit gangster and you're there.

As for my drinking I'm a sucker for czech lager.

Don't think Brits are that sophisticated. I once made the mistake of asking for a bottle of budweiser in a bar in Milwaukee and got put in my place - don't order St Louis beer in Miller country. The barman didn't speak to me for the rest of the evening. Thank god I was with friends!

rm_jacexprime2 40M
67 posts
9/4/2005 2:40 pm

Interesting. This sounds something similar to what it must be like talking to a bunch of wine connoisseurs. I take it Europeans have a somewhat more refined taste in alcohol compared to us Americans? Or is it more or less the same, teh lower class likes it's lager and ales, upper class it's wines and champagne? And are European and Australian wines and champagnes usually of higher quality than other areas? This is actually interesting. Knowing about alcoholic drinks and some specifics about their origins and qualities when you are in a drinking setting would probably improve your social standing with others, or at least impress them, I would think. I really don't know a good wine or champagne from a bad one, and only recently figured out what makes a wine "dry" or not. Perhaps I should drink less BEER. *lol*
A very interesting post. And what does a South London accent sound like? Is that's what is usually refered to as a Cockney accent? I love foriegn accents. I try to practice them every now and then.

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