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Have her seeing bubbles this Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2008 · No Comments · The Wine Press

This column is for men only. Now that you’ve performed your obligatory romantic duties on Valentine’s Day, it’s time to reassess where you stand. Take this little quiz:
1. When your sweetheart says “Oh, I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day,” the proper response is:
a) Don’t give her anything for Valentine’s Day and humiliate her.
b) Get her a lavish gift and get criticized for spending too much.
c) Get her a modest gift and let her be shown up by her co-workers’ more generous boyfriends.
d) Bring home a chilled bottle of Champagne. That’ll put off getting yelled at for at least 12 hours.
2. The best fuel for romance is:
a) A flower arrangement of mums in the shape of a French Poodle.
b) A Whitman’s Sampler from the candy section at Rite-Aid.
c) A six-pack of beer and a large bag of potato chips.
d) A chilled bottle of Champagne.
3. The best thing to do after an hour or two of “whoopie” is:
a) Catching Jay Leno’s monologue.
b) Snoring in unison.
c) Asking your sweetheart to make you a sandwich and bring you a beer.
d) Sharing a sip of chilled Champagne.
Do you see where I’m going with this? If your answer wasn’t D to all of these questions, you need to get a clue. And I’m here to help. I know about not having a clue.
Earlier in my retail wine career, a salesman told me, “Women love bubbles.” At the time I was married to my fourth wife, and this idea was new to me. My dad, who was divorced for not having a clue, never told me this growing up.
Armed with this new insight, I began to investigate at home. Working late one night, I knew my wife’s dinner was getting cold, so I decided to bring home a chilled bottle of Champagne, and you know what? Rather than scold me for my inconsideration, she lit up like a Christmas tree. And after dinner, which was easily re-heated in the microwave, was finished, she rewarded me in other, more delicate ways, having been playfully tickled by the sparkling French potion.
It wasn’t until after breakfast the next morning that I was reminded what a lout I was for being late for dinner. As you see, even Champagne couldn’t give me reprieve, just a 12-hour stay of execution.
Now think about this, you fellows who flunked the quiz above. Imagine being in a room where the women outnumber the men 3 to 1 and they are drinking a pétilant beverage that makes them happy and gently lowers their inhibitions. Then ask yourself if you’d rather be watching a football game with the boys.
Quoting a line from my favorite movie, The Best Years of Our Lives, “What’s the matter with the guys in this town?” Am I getting through?
The good news is there are very good sparkling wines that’ll do the trick for every budget. Stay away from the Andrés and the Cooks. They are made in a bulk process from very cheap grapes and are the easiest wines to give your sweetheart a raging headache. That, as any husband can tell you, will put a damper on any hope of kanoodling.
But for as little as $7 you can buy a decent bottle of Spanish Cava (the term for sparkling wine from Spain); for a little more you can buy great tasting bubblies of Crémant (the French term for sparkling wine from France) and Prosecco (the frothy, delicious, light bubbly from northern Italy) and for the low twenties, you can bring home some of the finest sparkling wines from California. The Germans call their sparkling wine Sekt, made from Riesling or a mélange of Champange-styled grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and it is a bargain for what you get.
Champagne, the real thing from the Champagne wine growing region in northern France, is more expensive than it has ever been, but there is something unforgettable about the beverage’s finesse, length, tanginess and titillating aftertaste. It’s the limestone soil, baby, created from thousands of years of crushed oyster shells in ancient sea beds that once covered the region.
If you want to re-create Valentine’s Day without the obligatory trappings, simply bring home a chilled bottle of Champagne. It says “I honor you,” as well as “Let’s have some fun tonight.”
And a chilled bottle of Champagne will provide a stay of execution for at least twelve hours.

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