March 7th, 2008

How familiar are you with the champagne wars? Until very recently, I thought it was merely a little piece of snobbery. I’ve learned, though, and perhaps this is common knowledge, that it’s actually an issue that’s been legislated on in the EU. Champagne comes only from Champagne! When a shipment of California sparkling wine arrived in Belgium sometime in the last few months with labels referring to its contents as champagne, it was destroyed!

But what’s so special about French champagne? Well, I have a nice way for you to experiment with that question for yourself. The next time you come to stay with us, ask our bartender for a glass of Domaine Chandon. It’s sparkling Napa Valley wine, made very strictly in the French methode traditionelle. Actually, the Chandon winery is the first example of French sparkling winemakers coming to California to reproduce their craft. That’s the first half of your experiment, our gift to you as a guest of our hotel. The second half, the bottle of French champagne for the purpose of comparison, you’ll have to supply yourself. Only California wines are served at our bar. We, too, feel ourselves entitled to a little snobbery.

If you’re not the experimental type, relax with your glass of Chandon and the knowledge that what you are drinking is the product of centuries old tradition, combined with the innovations of California grape growing techniques.

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