Bubbles, They Go With Everything

Posted on February 4, 2012


Vintage Bubbles

Juneau has had a week of melting combined with rain to wash away the awesome build-up of snow that we were experiencing. Despite the conditions that have conspired to wreck our skiing, there was enough cover to ski today with sunshine to boot. I made it out to the campground trail and hit it right after the groomer had ground up the icy snow that formed with last night’s dropping temperatures. My shuffle pulled out some good tunes to glide to on my skate skis and it felt like I was going Mach speed. The snow can always be better, but after a ski like that I have no complaints. As long as there is snow, I can make any of it work for skiing.

Oh, what a perfect segway to what I think is the most versatile kind of wine: Champagne or anything sparkly. Had it not been for Michael Alberty of Storyteller Wine Co. in Portland, I would not have been turned on to the wine writings of Jay McInerny. I have always had a fondness for bubbly wines, but would not have thought their range to be so broad if it were not for Jay McInerny. McInerny, yes that one, yes he did write Bright Lights, Big City, in addition to his fiction writing, maintained the wine column for the U.S. publication of House and Garden magazine until it folded. These columns were collected and published in two compilations Bacchus & Me, Adventures in the Wine Cellar and A Hedonist in the Cellar. McInerny has since continued his wine writing for The Wall Street Journal and the columns are available online for free viewing. I find his pieces utterly enjoyable, animated and informative without being overly esoteric. When I finished the book compilations, I craved more of his wine writing because it has spurred on so many worthwhile explorations, so it is really good to know that his wine writing life lives on in some format.

McInerny claims that, “Champagne goes very well with sushi and most other Japanese food…based, in part, on the compatibility of the yeast in the Champagne and the yeast in the soy sauce; plus, the wine’s high acidity cuts through the saltiness-as with caviar.” I would have always thought Champagne to be too light for red meat, but McInerny mentioned somewhere in one of his writings that its bubbles are the perfect accompaniment to barbecued and grilled meats if you would like to replace your beer bubbles with those of a different kind. He also says that, “Champagne is famously versatile, but each one has its perfect occasions,” and goes on to explain various scenarios and styles that would serve a number of situations. It did not take much to convince me because I am not one to wait for a special occasion to break out the bubbles. The next time you are in a quandary as to what wine is best suited for your meal, you will likely do well to choose a sparkling wine or Champagne and the effervescent bubbles will most certainly elevate the occasion.