Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yup, Another Thing That Crunches My Undies

Got home this evening and pleased my own self by MacGyvering a very tasty sweet Italian sausage and egg sandwich dinner. Steamed the sausage, browned them, split them down the middle and browned the cut side after deglazing the pan with white wine and stock…placed them atop rustic bread that I smeared with a mixture of cream cheese and crushed garlic. On top of that I placed a fluffy mound of my double boiler scrambled eggs…just barely set, buttery, delicate. For something made up of what we had, it was pretty damn good but it did little to shake the irritation that I was feeling, the ever familiar, “chafe” from having my undies twisted all day. The thing that set me off this time? Randy handing me something he had printed out, “thought you might enjoy this” he said with that, “Oh this is gonna get her going” grin of his. I looked down at the freshly printed pile, (and yes, I mean pile as in pile of crap) and saw yet another, “Recommended Champagnes” list from one of the national wine publications….Dammit!

I sat there, my eyes glazing over at yet one more boring ass list of boring ass Champagne… “Why the hell do they even bother?!” rattling around in my beginning to boil brain. The wines were grouped into three categories; Light-bodied, Medium-bodied and Full-bodied…yeah, well I can tell you, there was no junk in any of those trunks. I looked up at Randy and said, “Now this, this shit just pisses me off” which I know is why he gave it to me in the first place, and we had the same conversation we have had a countless times, the, “What the hell good does this do?!” talk.

It goes like this:

Me—Jesus, this list is so freaking boring. There is nothing on here I would even consider buying let alone drink, (tad dramatic, some of them are in my, “meh it’s okay” pile).
Him—Well, they write for a national publication so they need to write up wines that are available everywhere.
Me—So what good comes from that?!

Okay so they write up the same boring crap over and over again, the wines made in such gargantuan quantities that they can be found in every Vons from Riverside to Duluth….so why not just call it the, “Best of the Shit You Can Get” list? It is absolutely no wonder to me why people don’t drink more Champagne when I read this kind of crap, why would they? Those wines inspire nothing more than a nose tingling burp. Clicquot yellow label….really? If I bought Clicquot, (um in the Full-bodied category by the way…gotta call bullshit on that) because some publication told me it was one of the best, then tasted it, dude…I might never have fallen in love with Champagne. Is it horrible, not really but it is pretty snooze worthy and man do they suffer with massive bottle variation, probably has something to do with the fact that those millions of cases are languishing in warehouses waiting for the masses to gobble them up…ugh!

So here’s a thought, how’s about writing up something like Pierre Peters, Agrapart, Jean Milan, H. Billiot…tell people how truly amazing those wines are, you know teach them something. Tell them how rare they are, how they will forever change the way people think about Champagne, urge them to seek them out, use the Internet if need be….like give praise where praise is due. I am so tired of these lists I could just scream, and when I read stories about distributers having to either dump these wines at the big box stores or even worse, having to send them back to France, rubbing their stink over the whole region…well that there, that just breaks my heart.

I just don’t see what’s wrong with writing up things that people may have to forage for, seek out, might just add a little more excitement when they actually procure a bottle of the stuff. It will also reward the stores that have done their research and homework, weeded through the merde to find the truly palate changing and have been fighting the, “Best of what you can get” attitudes, have been showing people how knee weakening a great bottle of Champagne can be. Oh and if enough people get pissed off that they cannot get their hands on the bottles that they are aching to try because of archaic shipping laws, well maybe they will join the fight to change them. Sounds like a bunch of wins to me but the thing that I long for most of all, to have people feel the weight, the texture, the length of a brilliant bottle of Champagne. The way the bubbles just barely dance across the palate…not stomp all over it, the balance between savory and fruity, the very noble, fucking sexy as hell, haunt that artisan Champagne can inspire.

Crushes me when I read lists like the one that was tossed in my lap today, makes me think of all the wines that will go underappreciated, undervalued and ignored because some publication is too damn lazy, afraid or uninformed to be willing to teach. Makes me think of all those people that sip on soulless wines and think they just don’t like Champagne. Even sadder, the people that will never experience the heart pounding want, desire and obsession that comes from a plate that has been touched, flirted with, kissed, seduced by a truly remarkable bottle of Champagne. That simply breaks my heart….and clearly gives me a massive wedgie.


Sara Louise said...

Pierre Peters, Agrapart, Jean Milan, H. Billiot…
Thanks for the tips :-)
This weekend when I go shopping, I'll pass by the Boyfriend's usual choice (the bubble bath bottle) and give another bottle a chance to tickle my tongue.

Thomas said...


What you see is typical. Even the mighty NY Times with its massive reach is literally in bed with names on its Book Review pages. Mostly the massive publishing houses make the Top X lists regularly, and the Times refuses to even review independently published books.

Talent and interest are not the deciding factors when it comes to recognition. Connections and lobbying clout do all the work. That, plus the fact that many magazines and newspapers keep on doing the same stories.

Amy said...

I completely agree with your point of view on champagne. However, when you are "stuck" in Texas, with little choices and no out of state shipping, you just want the real thing. Yellow label or not, I miss my bubbles.

Samantha Dugan said...

If you dig the Clicquot style look for the Pierre Peters, me thinks it might just rock you.

Dude, it is so depressing...I am so fucking tired of "Medium" or, "Good Enough" getting so much praise and press. The dumbing down of all forms of media, (you know where some people go to learn) is just making everyone more stoopider, palates included.

See now, I have this dream that while you are exiled there in Texas you will grow so weary of drinking bland ass bubbles that you will lead the charge to fight against those stupid laws. Then I can send you magnums of Billiot on your birthday rather than flowers! Go get em' girlie...

Thomas said...


If we could eliminate mediocrity we would solve both the population problem and the global climate change problem in one swoop!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Your ranting about people drinking crummy Champagne is starting to sound like my rants about people reading stupid wine blogs. That can't be good.

And you left out one other little consequence to your fantasy about everyone wanting the finest little grower Champagnes, how it might help motivate people to repeal shipping laws, etc.--it most certainly would drive their prices up. So keep up the good fight, My Love, but here's hoping you're not that successful.

I love you!

Your HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

You wish failure on me? Wow, that kinda blows...

A wine like Agrapart at $35.99 or R.H. Coutier at $39.99 retail while La Grande Dame goes for $100.00 and up...things are seriously screwed up on the QPR scale there...LVMH needs MORE money for their crappy products? Well I for one will not sit on my lips while these little growers try and make it by on their 6,000 cases...that would be total annual case production

Nancy Deprez said...

Those lists are pathetic, as pathetic as saying that Subway makes the best sandwich in Long Beach (which has been said). It is pathetic and there is no excuse and it is sad and there is better Champagne but most people will not know it and most people will say they do not like Champagne because they have never tasted Billiot, Pierre Peters, Gosset, Agrapart and yes, it is sad. :( Because once they do, they cannot with a straight face say they do not like Champagne.

I guess I don't blame you for getting your panties in a bunch over this. It is so frustrating!

Nancy Deprez said...


Can you become a Terry Theise distributor in Texas? Not for the German or Austrian wine, oh God no (wink, kidding), but for the Champagnes. Do they have a distrubutor there? If they do, you can find the Champagnes somewhere in the state, no??

Nancy Deprez said...

Great, now I crave Champagne. :(

Samantha Dugan said...

Nancy, (all 3 of you) You are adorable. Well you know where to come when that itch get too bad...I got ya sister.

Erin McGrath said...

All great points here. Personally, I like getting the, "Oh, Champagne gives me a headache," accompanied by a wrinkled nose. I guess it was the Cook's mimosas at a crappy baby shower that steered them in the very wrong direction.

Loved this post.

Samantha Dugan said...

Welcome and thanks for the kind words. I simply love the headache comments, often followed up with something about the bubbles, (as in, "the bubbles give me a headache") to which I get to say, "Do you get a headache from soda? Well than it probably isn't the bubbles"...argh!

Jessica said...

Gee, I didn't even know I was starting a comment that would continue to this post... See, such passion about a topic is exactly what girls want, only we want the topic to be us!

BTW, I was somewhat focused on champagne and then through Etienne into the mix (very confusing), but I happened to see an interview with him on Snooth last night as I was catching up from vacation and I just can't get over how damn adorable he is...

But, Pierre, Agrapart and Billiot... makes my heart melt just thinking about them. I miss them all so much! If only I had time to cruise to Signal Hill tomorrow? Maybe, just maybe if meetings go quickly I can buy my loves and still make my flight?

Here's hoping...

Samantha Dugan said...

Ahhh Mr. Montille worked that charm on ya, he's good at that...I remember having dinner in his home in Volnay, big 12 of us and he pulled out a chair at the head of the table and said, "No, Samantha you belong here"...dude, like c'mon. Man has some game fo sho! It would be awesome to see you so here is hoping that you find the time to stop on into The Wine Country!

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