Champagne Wishes and Travel Dreams – a Bubbly Get-Together

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It all started at the StarMegaDo4 launch party after party.  Sagy claimed that Rose Bollinger was the best champagne served by airlines. I disagreed, but cheekily challenged him to send me a bottle and I’d determine if he was right. He declined to send, but offered to bring a bottle at some point in time. Jeanne jumped on this excellent idea, and thus the idea of a “ChampagneDo” was born.

So this past weekend a small group of fellow travel enthusiasts (Milepoint screennames below) met to sample various bottles of bubbly. We were fortunate to have access to Sagy’s Park Executive Suite at the Park Hyatt Washington DC which proved perfect for the event.

It not only had a dining table and large couch area, but also had an empty mini-fridge perfect for chilling our bottles. It also featured a half bath which meant we didn’t need to troop through our host’s bedroom.

I did have a moment of panic though when I couldn’t find the light switch for the half-bath and was frantically pushing the electronic buttons that turned on and off all the lights in the suite, but left the bathroom unaffected. Fortunately Jeanne has an engineering background and was able to quickly determine the source of the problem. Someone’s coat was covering the switch in the hall :).

Jeanne is also an excellent hostess and soon had classy plastic flutes assembled, a variety of crackers, and even a slate cheeseboard labeled with exciting options to nibble on.

While we waited for others to join us, we started with my contribution a bottle of Alma Negra sparkling malbec.

It’s not the best bubbly I’ve ever had, but I fell in love with the concept of sparkling malbec earlier this year when visiting Mendoza and have been trying to track it down in Virginia ever since. Its bubbles are much softer than wines done in the champagne style, think slightly less than cava and more than prosecco, and it has less toast/nutty notes and more bright flavors. It’s different and can be appreciated as such.

Next up was a bottle of Dom Perignon. My love of Dom is well documented and I had a hard time sharing this generous donation with my fellow guests. I’m happy to report the 2002 is still in fine form and there’s no need to risk the dubious flavors of the ’03 vintage.

One of Jeanne’s favorites was next – Vueve Cliquot Rose. I love it for the smooth finish that lacks the slightly sour aftertaste I get with other champagnes.

Jeff the Wanderer of Indulge the Wanderlust then introduced us to Gimonnet Gonet. He, with the help of his local bottleshop, selected a champagne that would be very different than typical champagnes and he definitely succeeded. I’m bad at naming specific flavors, but this was a good bottle, very creamy a fresh and held it’s own following the Dom and Vueve Cliquot Rose.

Two bottles of Moet & Chandon soon followed, courtesy of FreqFlyerColl and Sagy. I think I had a bad bottle the only other time I had had Moet & Chandon, because I enjoyed these bottles quite a bit. Of course at this point we were 5 bottles in, so that might have had something to do with it. 😀

The last bottle, brought by Horse, was a real treat – Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut. So good it still managed to tickle my, at that point, somewhat dulled tastebuds.

At that point the wine was gone but we were still having fun sharing crazy travel stories and comparing notes on best elite statuses, so we headed down to the Blue Duck Tavern for some food before heading out.

I think this was a fantastic idea of Jeanne’s and I really really loved getting to try so many different kinds of bubbly, and sharing my own, without having to invest in all the bottles myself. If anyone wants to host in their city, let us know and maybe we can find an excuse to come out!


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel


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