I have done some really dumb things in my life. One of them was this past weekend.
Maybe I am overstating it, but the incident as I look back on it, was incredibly dumb.
When we were in Napa with our friends, the Dennys, we discussed things wine related, like Champagne. As many people think so thought the Dennys, not sure about their liking for it; we Koerners were there in the not so distant past. It is the thought that you really do not like Champagne.
When I am talking Champagne, I am not talking its often-poor variety, its American cousin. What we often sell as Champagne is a joke and I would not even call it Champagne with a small ‘c.’
Real Champagne, as my poor family has heard ad infinitum, is sparkling wine from the Champagne province in France, the area around Reims. This is according to French law. I suppose I wouldn’t make that big of a deal with it, but the cheap American version is often so bad that it gives the real thing a bad name. Oh, and by the way, ‘Reims’ does not rhyme with ‘reams.’ It rhymes more with ‘pants’ but without the ‘t’ sound.
My knowledge here is not just Internet-based, I have actually visited the Champagne House, Piper-Heidsieck in Reims, and had it all explained to me. Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, by the way, was Marie-Antoinette’s favorite Champagne, but that is neither here nor there, I am digressing.
MK and I truly enjoy, of late, Veuve-Clicquot Champagne. It is a delicious Champagne and a story of the importance of women and their abilities. Veuve (Widow) Clicquot came to be in charge of her husband’s holdings, including a Champagne House. Veuve Clicquot not only managed it well, I believe that it was under her guidance that they even revolutionized and popularized Champagne and improved its production which is now called ‘la méthode champenoise.’ Again, I digress.
I had hoped to bring a bottle with me last weekend; we had discussed it with Jack and Carolyn while in Napa. Of course, I didn’t bring it and of course, Jack and Carolyn came ‘wined’ to the hilt with various cool bottles of wine. We sampled one of them on Friday evening as we caught up on Koerner and Denny happenings since last June. I decided that we would pick up a bottle of the ‘Veuve’ while in Milwaukee.
The hotel we were staying in was quite cool, but in a revitalizing neighborhood of Milwaukee. I did not see any locations where we could pick one up. So, on our way home from a mall on the north side of Milwaukee, I came to the realization that I had not seen any liquor-selling locations. The odd thing is that when I think of Wisconsin, not being able to find liquor seems a bit unusual.
So we put ‘Yelp’ and my new Garmin (my seven year old Garmin GPS bit the dust with the recent update, it just couldn’t handle it). Actually, it was not my new Garmin, it is one I gave MK not so long ago so she wouldn’t have to get lost. Since she really does not need it or use it (she uses her iPhone), and I inherited it.
For some strange reason, we were led all over the place and came up empty. Finally, we saw Colbert Beer and Liquor Mart and headed toward it. We finally found it. I look at it and its steps leading to the door, it is a narrow building and well, not in a Winnetka or Whitefish Bay (Winnetka’s equivalent in Milwaukee). As I walk in, there are two hefty Black dudes coming out with paper bags of alcohol. Again, I am not all that smart. I go in and ask for ‘Champagne’ and the woman behind the counter looks at me a little perplexed and says, “What kind?” I mention, “Veuve Clicquot” and the look and response of the lady is priceless. I am not sure what she said but I know that she did not have any.
Apparently, my departure from the liquor store was noteworthy as I descended the steps and got back into our car and we then took off for our hotel, which was south of the city. Was Champagne to be in our near future? Not on your life. So today, I went to the local Jewel grocery store and bought two bottles, one for our mini-fridge as we always keep one on hand for celebrations and the other for Jack and Carolyn and our next meeting.
At least we now have an excuse to get together…hopefully, they will even like it!