Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Not fizzy enough"



Late in the workday.

Customer return.

"Not fizzy enough."

What do you think of this? 

We pour a little into a plastic cup. I sniff.

Wow. Biscuits and almonds, and toast. Fizz up your nose.

I sip. Bubbly, satiny, golden. Fruit metaphors pale to uselessness. The fruit of the tree of the garden of Eden, perhaps.

My, that's good. What are people thinking?

They don't know what they're buying. We'll see if we can get this capped up and you can take it home. Try to get a replacement for it.

Okay then. And thank you.

When I get it home I peer into the dark bottle with the oddly thin neck and realize it's half full. So the complaining customer sampled quite a bit before deciding it wouldn't do.

I take out a champagne flute, peer at that to make sure it's clean, and pour in Gosset Brut Grande Reserve. Nose in the glass, sip-and-savor routine. Think. Assess. But it's so enjoyable it seems beyond mere description. You just have to close your eyes in bliss and laugh. Doesn't matter that no one's watching. Wouldn't matter if anyone was.

Research: Gosset. Oldest Champagne house of all, founded in Ay in 1584. (Now the French were not Tudors, but the Tudor history geek in all of us rises up with a yelp at that year. Wow! Four years before Armada. Queen Elizabeth was fifty-one. Shakespeare was twenty. And so on. The French Renaissance, same time, was an entirely different matter. There's a gaminess to it. Wine goblets carved with erotic scenes at the bottom, so that maids-of-honors' reactions could be judged as they drained the cup at banquets -- younger royal sons raised as girls so they wouldn't be a threat to the heir -- the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. And so on.) Chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier. No malolactic fermentation permitted, which means the tart malic (green apple-ish) acids in the grapes do not transmute into softer lactic (milk-like) acids. Which means, if you think you taste creaminess, you are likely mistaken, or need to work on your rhetoric, or both. I've seen "baroque" offered up for Gosset, but what does that mean? Solitary blissful laughter, and gold bubbles?

Retail, about $70. Maybe it means that.

Psst. One tiny, tiny thing. It did kind of go flat in the glass pretty quickly. Like, in ten minutes. Is that secretly a sign of legendary quality?

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