So supposedly said Dom Perignon on realising the wine he had made was a sparkling marvel. It may have well have been my reaction when I first tasted ‘French Champagne’ on my 18th Birthday. It was a Bollinger N.V., given to my mother by a visiting American business man who told her it was for my 21st birthday. Since 18 was the legal drinking age in Australia, she cheated a bit. I didn’t know then what N.V meant, and I had no idea that if I had kept it for another 3 years it would have been even more exceptional, but I had seen Bollinger in the movies, and I knew it was supposed to be good.

One sip and I was tasting those stars.

As fate would have it, a few years later, I met and later married a French man whose brother had married a girl from the Champagne region. The photos from their wedding had me dreaming of the day I would go to Champagne. When my husband’s job took us to Belgium for 14 months, we took every opportunity to make the 3 hour drive down to Epernay for the weekend to see the ‘in-laws’.

So began our voyage of discovery of champagne, which continues to this day.

I decided to write this blog to introduce people to the wonders of Champagne. I am no expert, but I have had some wonderful experiences in the 20 years I have been with my husband, and learnt a lot along the way. Quite a few years ago, my father in law tried to encourage me to write a book about my experiences in France and Japan, where I have also spent many years. I had plenty of ideas, but never got further than a couple of chapters. Periodically, my father-in-law would say to me ‘And your book….’. Sadly, he passed away a few months ago, and I never did get a book published. In a way, this blog will replace that book. My father-in-law loved nothing better than a family gathering which always involved Champagne. His toast was always the same – ‘To those present, those absent, and those still to come’. This is for you, Jacques.

Vive la France. Vive la différence. Vive le champagne !