Champagne is Meant to be Drunk

I love champagne. After my first non-winery champagne tasting though, I think the drink may stand up better to sipping in a social setting than to the comparison and analysis of a formal tasting.Last night's tasting did not include any of the show-stoppers or bank-breakers that I hoped for, but it was informative. It turns out that champagne glasses make champagne look good, but aren't the best for smelling or tasting it. My glasses were the worst example present of form over function - I could barely smell anything - but they do make for an attractive champagne cocktail!

Project for future: one bottle, multiple flute styles.Martin selected the following bottles to introduce everyone to the three primary varietals and styles:1. Cava - I'm missing the details on this pre-tasting Spanish bubbly.2. Cooks - included for comparison and, at $4.99 a bottle, it's at least as bad as I remembered from New Year's celebrations at the Royal Poinciana, and possibly worse for the association. It did less poorly on average in the blind tasting than I expected, but was still firmly at the bottom of my list.3. Shramsberg ($30) - tasted very Californian to me and lacking in depth from the unripened grapes.4. Veuve Cliquot Brut (Yellow Label) - classic, pretty, elegant, but surprisingly simple in the context of the comparison and generally less impressive than we hoped, especially as the most expensive bottle at the tasting.5. Mensil Sablé Blanc de Blanc ($25) - the most different smelling and tasting. I have had this bottle before and remember liking it better than I did in the tasting.6. Michel Dervin ($26) - the only Pinot Meunier in our tasting, this bottle had a nice flavor and more complexity than some of the others.7. Michel Arnould ($30) - Pinot Noir from Montagne de Reims - no real recollections on this one, but I think it came out near the top in my tastings.8. Marguet Bonnarave Rosé ($26)The blind tasting would have been better served by not eating, but that goes firmly against my hostess-with-the-mostest compulsion and the fact that I had barely eaten yesterday myself. Many thanks to the Opinionated About community for their Champagne-complimenting suggestions.On the menu:- a selection of olives, cornishons, and a big mixed basket of perfect cherry tomatoes- hot gougères- smoked salmon tartare with crème fraîche- goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms- parmesan- salt and vinegar kettle chips (new to me and surprisingly good with champagne!)- half a flat of beautiful organic strawberries- Almondina Original Biscuits - my new favorite discoveryOren was galavanting around Switzerland and couldn't get a flight back until Monday, poor guy, but everyone was wonderfully helpful and made it so much fun!