June 25, 2008

Welcome to the Bubbledome

To break up the often dreary monotony of our experimental efforts and to reward the discipline and dedication of the Lab staff, I've decided to let some of the boys work off their excess testosterone with a semi-regular competition. But don't be fooled by the fun, sexy, and super-hipness of this. These competitions, like all (some would argue less than that) our other work at the Lab, will have a serious purpose as well.

Because our goal is both simple and bold. We aim to find the best, reasonably priced sparkling wine in the entire world. Bottle versus bottle, in a no-holds barred, ladder-style competition. The current champion holds the belt until defeated.

The rules are straightforward, if somewhat arbitrary. I prefer blanc de blancs from Champagne, so they will have a clear advantage. But anything that has undergone a secondary fermentation in the bottle can compete. Fair is fair, so the competition will be handicapped, points being awarded for perceived value. And extra points awarded for anything under $15 that doesn't totally suck. Similarly, anything costing more than $59 will be immediately disqualified. Unless someone happens to brings the bottle to a dinner party and we don't get around to opening it on the night. Or if it comes in a gift basket from my agent.

Oh, there's one more rule. And this last one is important. If we feel a producer has devoted an excessive amount of operating expense to advertising, then their bottle cannot compete in the B-Dome. If you know a few things about Champagne, you may be thinking to yourself, "This will rule out many of the Grand Marques champagnes, like Moet & Chandon, Louis Roederer and Veuve Clicquot." And if we could read minds (and maybe we can), we'd smile and say aloud: "Exactly. Who wants to drink really expensive lifestyle-accessories?"

We certainly don't.

The Bubbledome will opens for competition in the next couple days. Be sure to tune in.

(The image is a chair I made from the cage -- the wire thing that's wrapped around a Champagne cork -- of a bottle of Terre de Vertus from Larmandier-Bernier, a genius, biodynamic producer in the village of Vertus in Champagne. Ever notice how often genius and biodynamic go together? Coincidence? The TdV would have kicked major butt in the Bubbledome.)

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