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Champagne... Before It's Time!

by Asher Hung

I swear I don't have OCD. But I have been cleaning obsessively since the slightly warmer weather has hit. The usual stuff--tending to the progeny of my pet dust bunnies, reevaluating my bed's most auspicious direction on the ba-gua trigram, realphabetizing the CDs and taking stock of those things with which I should be well stocked.

Namely, champagne.

No, I don't celebrate engagements, promotions, birthdays or website launches on a weekly basis, but I have heard a nasty little rumor that demands immediate attention. Word is that come New Years there will be a shortage of champagne. Meaning that if you like to wait to last minute like I normally do, you'll either be toasting with Martinelli's or paying Cristal prices for a bottle of 1999 Swill Reserve when the ball drops.

Currently, an in-store display for Moet shows a 2001-like black monolith bearing one word: Prepare. My oenophilic friends and relatives say don't worry and that it's all a big marketing scheme. I say God forbid they're wrong.

So what should you buy? Check out the big ones at www.korbel.com, www.cliquot.com (clearly they pilfered their Haiku contest from Breakup Girl), and www.perrier-jouet.com.

As for the debate about the best glass with which to drink champagne (saucer or flute?): I always say flute. I believe it does make the bubbles last just a little bit longer.

Also, when storing wine or champagne, find a nice, dark, cool place. Some say that a lack of humidity can dry out the corks, so don't put it next to your heater vent. If you're really buying in quantity, a corner in a closet or the space under your bed (now situated for proper flow of Ch'i!) can be quickly transformed into your personal wine cellar.

There are a lot of questions and personal tastes to define before you pop your cork, so why not invite your friends over for a champagne tasting? Have everyone bring a bottle of their favorite or something they haven't tried before. It's also nice to have some people just bring hors d'oeuvres. Lots of your closest friends may be planning millennium trips to see family or Incan ruins, so this may be your only chance to celebrate with all the people you'd really love to toast. And if you've got a few bottles of Veuve Cliquot Reserve, you're invited.

So. My advice for the new millennium: Go buy a yourself a case. Just in case.

Asher Hung, who picks colors and typefaces by day, has never had a caviar dream.

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