Carol Kaufmann | Vol. 11 | September 21, 2020
Need delicious, clean-crafted wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.
When I was in my 20s, I lived in a group house in Washington, D.C. For five years, I had a revolving door of three or four roommates at a time. We were all climbing our career ladders, meeting all sorts of people from (quite literally) all over the world, and very frequently, hosted fêtes at our rented duplex that lasted into the wee hours.
Many of these nights involved Champagne.
We’d gather on the house’s main level, spilling over onto the wooden deck in the back of the house, and eventually settling there. My roommate Ron became fixated on buying Veuve Clicquot, which as you probably know, is delicious. Generous (and, ah hem, more well-healed than I was), he’d treat us—his female roommates—to glasses of the bubbly and we’d toast a successful work week, a new relationship or an ended one, or just being alive and together. Ron and I lived in that house for all five years. He was my brother and, because of him, I learned to love Champagne.
Eight years ago, Ron contracted a rare cancer and died at age 47. At his memorial service, filled with hundreds of friends in an old New York ballroom, we toasted Ron with bubbles. I told those gathered about those nights with the bubbly and the rock that he was in our lives.
I haven’t had Champagne since.
When offered, I say I simply don’t like it, but that’s not exactly true.
But the Time of COVID has offered a chance to rethink long-held habits and cast a new light on what we now can only do in limited quantities – like spending time with friends.
On one Thursday, when the temperature had dropped to a decent 70 degrees, I had four girlfriends over to the patio with socially-distanced furniture. We’ve been close for a decade—ever since our teens were three years old in pre-school together. But pandemic fear has halted our regular gatherings and we hadn’t seen each other all summer.
If there was ever a time to open the bubbly, this was it. Plus, my friend Becky, who was coming, is a serious Champs fan.
Once they were all there, I popped open a NV Cattin Sauvage Crémant D’Alsace Brut. Alsace is very close to Champagne (the only French AOC legally allowed to call its bubbly by that name) and Crémant D’Alsace Bruts are made like champagne in the slow, traditional manner. Not surprisingly, the taste of the Cattin Sauvage, made of mostly Pinot Blanc with 20% Chardonnay, is very similar to what I loved to drink on that wooden porch long ago—though a bit creamier, a welcomed change. I poured Sarah, Heather, Becky, and Ashli (of wine fridge fame) a big flute and we toasted to being together again.
When you have the chance to celebrate, seize it.
Watch, Listen, & Read
WATCH: Harry Potter – all of them. You know the story, either from the pages or the films, but when the world seems so complicated and summer morphs into fall, movies with a well-told story about magic and innocence coming of age is such a very welcomed salve.
Pair: Dove Hunt Dog Cab. $24. An easy red, with a bit of depth, good for any night. Our website says it pairs well with steak and fires; I concur!
LISTEN: The College Years.
When COVID started, my friends from college organized a Zoom call to combat the horror/boredom/isolation and on it, my friend Julie told us how she’s bringing clean-crafted vino to Chicagoland. A few days later, Seattle-based Stephanie and I joined the Scout & Cellar team at the same time vowing to establish coastal dominance😊 As a result, many of our former roommates are now happy wine customers.
Well into my Spotify playlist-making obsession, I polled my college gal pals about the songs we listened to back in the day and put them in one spot. (Apologies to Gun ‘n Roses’ fans; I’ve heard those songs one too many times). I’m offering my curated collection, but go to Spotify and assemble your own personal favorites. Music at your fingertips is such a great way to beat the back-to-school blues!
Pair: My pairing with these songs when I first heard them would probably have been rail bourbon, but now that I’ve “matured,” I much prefer red blends. Just give me the best grapes—in the right proportions—and make them sing.
Take your pick:
2017 The Resident Red, Mendocino, $22 (I am loving this lately!)
2017 Soleil. Vent. Ȃme, AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France , $16
2017 Middle Jane Red, Sonoma, $38
2018 Che Fico Red, Tuscany, $25
READ: Dan Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. I’ve read 17 of the 20-book series and am now inhaling the last three. The thrillers center around one reluctant Israeli art restorer-turned-spy who helped his country eliminate the terrorists responsible for the Black September massacre at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. Silva was a UPI Middle East correspondent based in Cairo and knows his way around the region so while turning pages well into the wee hours (because you won’t be able stop), you also learn a thing or two. Start with The Kill Artist.
Pair: Go Old World. World-trotting Allon and his team spend significant time in France and Italy, and do you need a better reason to drink wines from there?
SALE: MYSTERY BOXES $69
Until September 21 TODAY, grab four bottles of limited-quantity wines, many of which we don’t have on the site! Choose mixed or all red. Up your total to $99 and the whole thing ships for free. Hurry – these are running out FAST. Go here.
Great Choices for Fall (and ships for free)
Who else likes wine?
I do hope you’re enjoying The Chardonnay Mom, regular musings about wine, wine pairings, books, and life, written by yours truly. If you know of anyone who’d like to subscribe, you can send them here to sign up.
Other Bits and Pieces
Need a side gig? Maybe a new job? Or do you simply love wine and want to try new kinds? Want to host a fundraiser during COVID? Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. I joined in April to learn about the wine business and try new wines; I’m staying because it’s so much darn fun. If you are interested, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Big Fat Hug
Thank you! Because of your support, I continue to donate to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. Lately, I’ve been making donations to their efforts with the California and Oregon fires. So many of our wines come from these states and I shudder to think how farmers and anyone in the area are coping. #chefsforamerica
Buy all wine here.
©2020 Carol Kaufmann
My name is Carol Kaufmann.
My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why is a Chardonnay mom a bad thing? Chardonnay is a delicious, highly versatile, and glorious grape. Being a Chardonnay mom should mean a woman who wears many hats: a family gal, a hard worker, a passionate devotee to great conversation and gathering of friends. Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay—and all other delicious wines out there—one bottle at a time.
I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners frequently used in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.
I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, two rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.