Oui, it is indeed my first time "blogging", so I thought it would be appropriate to share this anecdote about how my one-woman celebratory champagne festivities went horribly wrong....
For just over a year now, I have been studying for The French Wine Society's Scholar certification. I started with one of my favorite French Regions, The Loire Valley, and then literally devoured the rest of the study manual. I developed a "one-track-mind" for anything and everything French (Oh and what about the amazing bottles I absolutely had to try in the name of research... WATATOW!) (Et un gros merci papa for all the bottles you shared with me!)
I studied intensely and obsessively until I felt prepared enough and went for it. I registered and made an appointment for a 1 hour proctored exam... On that day, a little after 9am, armed with my 2 litre pot of ginger green tea, I answered my first question. 1 hour to answer 100 questions, no big deal, right??? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!!! The time went by furiously fast until Céline, the proctoress, informed me that I had less than 10 minutes left!!!
Satisfied with the answers I submitted, I was told it would take up to 3 weeks to get the result via snail mail. I tried to forget all about it... The truth is that I awoke almost every night around 4am remembering a different exam question and frantically tried to locate the study manual in the dark to figure out if I had chosen the right answer or not... It was torture! Luckily, my panic wake-up calls ceased when the mailman knocked at my door less than 10 days after I took the exam.
It was "good" news... I expected GREAT news but I still graduated with honors on my first try which is ok since I am told there is a 50-60% pass rate. But I hoped for a better mark so, I still wake up around 4am every now and then and wonder about certain questions... Or I can't stop singing that new Fanny Bloom song-Dance! Or Salomé Leclerc's Arlon! AARRGGHH!
Ok, what about Champagne??? Over the past summer, on one of our visits to the SAQ DÉPOT, Québec's discount alcohol distributor, my dad generously "paid me in wines" for helping him do some work on my parents' property (which consisted of me having to haul 30-50 pound stones around in a very "historical" wheelbarrow while Django watched with a very puzzled look on his face)(I am not kidding, my mom still laughs about how I transformed from a donkey to a bull trying to push that wheelbarrow up hills while trying to follow my dad who was still trying to decide on the location of those freaking stones... Yup) So when he offered the wines as pay, I went straight to the bubbly section... Along with an array of bubbly and still wines, he picked one of my favorite Champagnes: Nicholas Feuillate's Brut Reserve. That is the bottle I intended on drinking if I received good/great news from the French Wine Society. After framing my certificate, I grabbed that bottle and delicately introduced it to the coolness of my fridge!!!
Thank Goodness I was due in the studio for a voice-over job that afternoon otherwise, I think I might have drank the whole bottle by myself before noon!!!
After my session, strangely incredibly thirsty, I almost ran all the way home. I kissed Django, pulled the bottle out of the fridge, grabbed my favorite glass, cut the foil, undid the capsule, twisted the cork out rather easily, almost too easily and poured myself a well deserved glass...
I stared and stared at those bubbles and they just didn't look right.
The large shape of them was just odd. And there were only a few of them...
The nose was even weirder...
Who has ever found stewed peaches as an aromatic to Champagne???
Where is the yeastiness????
Never mind, maybe I'll learn something new... I will take a sip.
Oh boy... Instant heartburn, oxidized stone fruit anyone??? I took another look at the bottle, maybe it was an older vintage instead of the house-blend???
Upon closer inspection of the cork, I realised that it was totally dry and still retained the shape it had inside the bottle.
My celebratory Champagne was oxidised.
Did I find the courage to pour it all down the drain??? Never!!!
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade! So, what did I use this "peachy" Champagne for??? Along with some home-made grainy mustard, herbs and all kinds of yummy stuff, I used it in a crazy marinade in which a beautiful pork tenderloin spent the whole night bathing. Then I roasted the loin with different varieties of apples, red onions, a good decent amount of garlic and a touch of that Champagne... I reduced the marinade into a thick sauce and served everything with yummy creamy horseradishy mashed potatoes and a zesty arugula salad...
It was absolutely disgustingly delicious, WATATOW!!!!
So, did I end up having celebratory bubbly? OUI! Luckily, I had a gorgeous Crémant d'Alsace, the Wolfberger, in my little cellar... There were also peaches in the nose and the mouth but at least they were suppose to be there!