Last week I kissed the widow and I really liked it...well, okay, not really because she has been dead for over 150 years. But I might as well have! It was one of the most dazzling, glittering, exciting moments of my life. Here’s my story! Last week, I attended a soiree hosted by Bernadette O’Shea celebrating the Champagne Veuve Clicquot.
The guest of honor was one very dashing, very dapper and oh-‐so-‐charming Francoise Hautekeur, an oenologist from the house.
Surrounded by magnums of Veuve is definitely my idea of heaven. I was in raptures! The rich “pop” of the cork, the mellow fizz of the champagne as it was elegantly poured by gloved waiters and that distinctive, special, fresh taste of Veuve...I have goosebumps and dreamy eyes now remembering the atmosphere. I digress.
Francoise has one of the most envious jobs in the world, if you could call it a job. It’s a passion for him, the perfect love. He tastes wine morning, noon and night to create perfect Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Francoise is the man behind the bubbles and the famous yellow label that is recognized anywhere in the world. I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with him. We shared stories of our favorite champagnes (his Veuve Rose, mine all things Veuve) and our passion for the champagne region. He then casually enlightened me with one of the most fascinating stories I have ever heard...
Recently, Swedish divers investigating a shipwreck in
the Baltic Sea found 30 bottles of champagne produced in the 1700’s. (*CLINK!* HERE for story.) The divers had stumbled upon the remains of a cargo ship that carried the Russian Empress Catherine II, presents from the French King Louis XVI. The find was truly unique. Amongst the treasures was the oldest sparkling wine in the world. Perfectly preserved Veuve Clicquot from between 1788-‐89. Champagnes made by Madam Clicquot herself.
So, who better to taste a 240-‐year old bottle of champagne than Francoise? He described the champagne as being very fresh and loved adding to the story that he had kissed the widow. Francoise’s lips had tasted the very champagne that Madam Clicquot herself had made...what a story! I couldn't help myself, before we parted -- I kissed him right on the lips and said “I kissed the widow and I liked it!” That’s one degree of separation! We both laughed so hard. It was truly one of the best moments of my life: I was in Champagne heaven.