You might have noticed that I tend to say little in this column about the vintner's traditional tribute to Satan, otherwise known as Champagne. That's because I can smell the infernal stuff at 100,000 solar miles, and the merest whiff renders me sicker than a rat in a tin shit-house. The last time I had more than an ounce, all my arms and legs fell off, my nose dangled in place by a thread of pulverized bone and my esophagus corroded into a bubbling pool of live battery acid. One smile from my hottie doctor and 11 rolls of duct tape later, I was good as new, but vulnerable as always to the next wave of attack, which, according to my calculations, reaches its annual zenith at midnight Dec. 31.
That's why I was so surprised at my reaction to Korbel's Chardonnay Champagne, out of the Korbel Champagne Cellars in Sonoma County. Maybe it's the Chard effect that mellows this one out so considerably, but by dad-gum if it isn't the least lethal of the Champagnes I've had to date. It effervesces just as menacingly as any other. Get past that, and there's a casual elegance at play, grapey like Chardonnay yet animated and persistent like the finest Champagne. I wouldn't dare drink Champagne on an empty stomach (when I drink it at all), so I was in luck on this occasion. Chicken and pasta (both of which I love) were served, and this stuff rolled over and through them as if it'd been doing it all its life.
By the way—heh-heh—I was only kiddin' about all that stuff up there. None of it really happened, leastwise not in anybody's head but mine. The thing is, it would happen if I overindulged in Champagne, which is why I cheerfully welcome you to my share of this Korbel (available all over the place for $11.95 or so) at midnight Dec. 31 and beyond. I may even toast 2010 with a little myself, provided I've gone to the hardware store beforehand. Duct tape is not only the poor man's universal repair tool—on occasion, it's been known to save lives.