As an adept Francophile and amateur oenophile, I could give an entire lecture on the exceptional quality of French wine, the folk philosophy of terroir that has produced grape varietals and blends perfectly suited to the microclimate of each region or strict laws of the Appellation d’Origine Controlée (Name of Controlled Origin) that oversee the integrity of each regional blend, but in the end, the exciting eccentricities of these delightful grapes can only be described by throwing up one’s hands and proclaiming “It’s French!”
So how do I convey my love for French wine without resorting to tautology? I tell a lot of stories. However, since wine is much better experienced than discussed I prefer to give gifts. Here are a few of my suggestions for gifts that will truly embody l’esprit française to your lucky recipient and will help them create their own stories to tell.
On a rare sunny day in March I took a train from Paris through the countryside made famous by the likes of Monet and Van Gogh to meet up with some friends for a “a French hike.” I was expecting a ten-mile wilderness excursion like the ones I am used to at home, but I quickly realized that a French hike consisted of a half-mile stroll along the river followed by a three hour picnic complete with lively conversation and seemingly bottomless glasses of Beaujolais-Brouilly.
You can set the tone for a similarly jovial dinner party with our Classic French Duo, which includes a bottle of that Beaujolais and a bottle of Chardonnay sure to please any palate. And even when it’s cold outside you can capture the spirit of a picnic in the countryside of the impressionists with the colors of a French Garden Bouquet.
Like many, I punctuate all of my most important life events with champagne, but there are two labels that stand out. The first, I ordered as a newly minted twenty-one year old. The wine list was mystifying at the time, but I confidently flagged down the waiter and ordered a bottle of “Mo-AY and Chandon” doing my best to imitate Freddie Mercury singing “Killer Queen.” The waiter stopped, cocked an eyebrow at me and replied “Of course, a bottle of Mo-ETT for mademoiselle.” I was mortified, but after one sip my confidence was restored. Extraordinarily nice, indeed.
For the Killer Queen in your life, that special lady who always dots her i’s and remembers to pronounce that critical hard “T” when ordering at restaurants, send our Champagne & Flutes Gift Set with optional engraving on the crystal flutes for optimal display in her pretty cabinet.
The second label was something I have only experienced once in my life, but I will never forget it. I spent my last days in France in the northeastern department of Brittany, which is known more for hard cider and unforgiving coastlines than fine wine, but as I was to find out, that certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to celebrate. At my farewell dinner, I was handed a glass of champagne. I took a nonchalant sip of it and was immediately floored. I was speechless. My hosts exchanged amused glances. “Well?” they inquired eventually “Are you tasting the stars?”
This was supposedly what Dom Perignon, the famous Benedictine monk, had said upon first tasting the bubbly wine that was to be named for him, and I can say from experience that there is really nothing like drinking a toast with a bottle of his champagne. Make some feel particularly fêted by sending the unforgettable experience of the Dom Perignon Champagne Set. The keepsake box will help them preserve the memory for years to come.