Have you read Jay McInerney's new column for the Wall Street Journal? Apparently he would rather remember Rose-Hued Memories of a Summer Night with Joan Coughlin and the Who than cold nights in Cambridge with Restaurant Girl.
My first experience with a sparkling wine took place in the back of an idling Lincoln in the company of a man named Jay McInernery. He was giving a lecture at "Harvard" and when his door opened the rush of long circulating air revealed notes of apples, tobacco and hubris. The wine in question, a Dom Perignon Rosé, was, I discovered much later, not part of his rider but impulsively bought at University Wine to impress the first cross-legged coed to catch his eye. I eventually learned to turn up my nose at men who try to buy me with wine, but I think my memories of that evening may have something to do with my diminishing enthusiasm for rosé Champagne.
As he began to shake the bottle, he explained Champagne had long been perceived as a celebratory beverage. Suddenly I feared being doused with a cooler of Gatorade like a cheerleader to close to a winning coach on the sidelines but as if he read my mind he eased my nerves "But less declamatory, and more romantic. Great Champagne is the vinous equivalent of White Diamonds but more expensive." I relaxed, brushed my hair to bare my neck to him in my mind inviting a spritz of Liz Taylor's famous perfume. I grew up on those commercials and though it represents just a small fraction of the sales of drugstore cologne, a wine version seemed even more precious and a recent trip to Duane Reade confirmed it.
Meanwhile he mused, "If Dom Pérignon is the Porsche 911 Carrera of the wine world, then DP Rosé is the 911 Turbo."
"But we're in a Town Car," I protested, then I suddenly pictured Will Smith driving that Porsche in Bad Boys and imagined his car turning into a magnum of Dom with me by his side like an Ivy League Tea Leoni. As quickly as I recovered my neck I revealed it again. "Do you know Will Smith?" I interrupted.
"I happened to be present at a
rather raucous New York auction in March when two bottles of the
1959 DP rosé, from the collection of über collector Rob Rosania, went
for $84,000, astonishing nearly everyone in the room."
"Is that his agent?"-------------------------
"Dom Pérignon rosé is typically
released about a decade after vintage; the 2000 vintage hits American
shelves this month" read Jay's note, accompanied by a bottle he sent
me, a reminder of that night in the back of his car ten years ago. "As if that weren't reason
to max out one of my credit cards," the note continued "I'll be
arriving in New York with a bottle of the '90 Œnothèque. How do you
feel about some ultra premium DP?" A late release of vintage juice
mellowing long after my initial arousal ran down my chalk tunnel. DP,
what a freak! Until
now, I've never tried it, and guys
have been buzzing in anticipation for me to give it up for years. "It
spectacular, rich and
more voluptuous than any of the many pleasant sensations it
evokes." I thought of Julianne Moore, a mature pinkish-hued beauty whom
I'd seen on the street in the West Village earlier that day—had she
ever tried DP? She was in Boogie Nights.
He started on a high note: Hotter than usual he was soon joined by Mr. Geoffroy who Jay described as a real whine-maker. Was he! Geoffroy has had many triumphs since that night and I have to say that the only man I've ever met who seems to enjoy this as much as he does is Hugh Hefner. I suspect that in his 20 years of DP, Mr. Geoffroy has lifted more spirits and ameliorated more malaise than most men his age.
not going to pretend that either the 2000 or the 1990 Œnothèque was
worth a second time with Jay but look at it this way: The former costs
about the same
as the tasting menu at Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas; the latter the same
as the tasting menu for two and who doesn't put out after that?
But ugh, the pillow talk: "Most rosés are made by adding a small percentage of still Pinot Noir to a Champagne base. A very few are made by leaving the Pinot Noir grapes in contact with their pigment-bearing skins for a short period during fermentation."
I shuddered. His pinot was in my base, he was fermentalizing me! It was then I realized we didn't use protection and my deep, rich, nova-salmon color faded. Color is one of the great pleasures of DP, the rush of their blood changing my color from faint onion skin to bright raspberry to every imaginable shade of smoked salmon in between. Sometime more orange- than pink-hued. But now I was turning green.
Ever since that night he's been responding to my increasing
demand for a paternity test with varying degrees of success. Instead of a blood sample I get Bollinger, Veuve
Cliquot and Taittinger. "What is my DNA" he asks, "compared to what wine importer Terry Theise calls "farmer fizz," to what the French call
terroir?" I leave that to the lawyers.
I'm not sure if his car and driver still idle outside Harvard Square when he's in town, but the next time a celebrity offers me a bottle of rosé Champagne, I'm going to make sure it's Will Smith. There are bad boys and there are Bad Boys and I mean, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?