bubbly magic


There is magic in bubbles.

I am convinced. Look at this photo. It shows two women having a great time. You can almost hear the sound of happiness.

Five hours before this photo was taken I did not feel like being seen in public. The world was coming to an end as far as I was concerned. I was over-worked, overwrought and felt more like staying home with a mug of steaming hot chocolate wrapped up in my snuggly, watching the latest episode of Bones than having a night on the town.

But, my champagne twin and partner in crime had invited me to attend the Australian launch of Canard-Duchêne, so I had to do something drastic to pull myself out of my mood.

So as any self-respecting French woman would do in the same circumstances, I went to the hairdresser and asked for a shampoo and blow dry. Fortunately my hairdresser is very sweet and didn’t ask any questions. That done, I felt slightly better, and somehow, without thinking about it, my feet took me into the nail bar on my way to the car. I could hear my voice saying, ‘I would like a manicure and pedicure, please’, but was unsure who was controlling it.

Somewhere along the way the clock-watcher inside of me forgot there were children to be picked up and taxied to various sporting activities, and I managed to relax and close my eyes. Looking down at the finished perfect nails, and heading over to pay, I noticed the time. I had five minutes until school ended! Lucky it was five minutes up the road! I then spent the next 90 minutes feeling like the best coiffed and manicured soccer mum on the planet – and slightly ridiculous next to all the other over-worked, overwrought mums.

Getting home from soccer, I only had about 10 minutes to get ready for this big night out. But that was OK – hair and nails were still intact, I just needed to slip on a dress and quickly apply some makeup.

I arrived at the venue, looking for my friend, still feeling slightly undone, but ready to face the world.

Fortuitously we arrived at the same time, her floating down the oak staircase in an elegant swath of red silk, me huffing up the side stairs in nowhere near what could be described as elegant. Then the oak-panelled doors to the tasting room opened, and the world became a better place. Standing like soldiers either side of the door, waiters were holding round silver platters of Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Léonie. A wonderful sight.

I was reminded of a quote from Brigitte Bardot, who clearly understood there was magic in champagne:

“Champagne is the one thing that gives me zest when I am tired.”

There with a smile as wide as the room itself was Bernadette O’Shea, looking for all the world like there was no one on earth she would rather be talking to than us. Bernadette has the gift of making everyone feel important, it’s why everyone loves her so much. “Have you got a glass?”, she immediately said, looking at the remains of the flute in my hand. ‘You must try the Blancs de Blancs’ and off she scurried to come back with the Charles VII Blanc de Blancs in her hand, and Antoine Huray, the Export Manager for Canard-Duchêne, by her side.

All in all we tasted eight cuvées of Canard-Duchêne over the course of the evening and heard some wonderful stories about the grower and his methods and how they finally ended up being available in Australia. My pick of the night was the Charles VII Rosé, with the Charles VII blanc de noir coming a close second.

Mostly though, I was having a wonderful time. I was laughing. I was meeting new and interesting people. I was learning about a champagne that I had very limited experience drinking. I didn’t have time to take notes, I just absorbed the experience.

And then it occurred to me that along with the magic that had transformed me, there were also angels in the room. The date was 12 months since my father-in-law passed away. I had written a post about his wonderful spirit of thinking to drink champagne when he though it could possibly be his last day on earth. And I remembered. His favourite champagne was Canard-Duchêne.

So, thank you, my friend, for showing me the magic yet again.