Pop Goes the World
By Eve Thomas
Photo by Joss McKinley
“I was only a few hours old when I had my first taste of Champagne,” says Veuve Clicquot chef de cave Dominique Demarville, who hails from the famed French region. “The tradition there is to put a little drop on the baby’s lips.”
It’s just the sort of mysterious, almost mystical rite that only Champagne can inspire. As much a symbol of celebration as a libation, Champagne fills a tall order for a drink, but one fulfilled at an increasing number of pop-ups, including a temporary Champagne-and-chip shop in London, England, and a secret bar in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado, only discoverable through online clues. Dedicated bubbly bars are also turning up at LAX (Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar) and Heathrow (The Bar at Fortnum & Mason) and at hotels such as Fairmont Beijing and The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel. After all, when Fairmont relaunched its cocktail program last year, not all the menu offerings were mixed drinks. The team of elite bartenders also picked out select spirits best enjoyed on their own, and that includes a glass of Veuve.
“There are two things that give Champagne the capacity to create happiness,” theorizes Demarville, who picked his first grape in 1985 before earning a degree in oenology and viticulture, then rising in the ranks to his current prestigious position. “One is the famous ‘pop.’ When you hear that noise, everybody looks. The second is the lightness of the bubbles. I truly believe that this effervescence helps people to think more optimistically.” The idea may be simple – a serving of Champagne, straight – but the result is sparkling.