It’s 3:30PM on a September Monday and 150 garden bloggers sit classroom style inside a large hotel ballroom listening to a panel of content marketing experts sharing strategies for using Houzz, Pinterest, and Google to build their personal brands. As the panel concludes, you step in front of the microphone for a brief word and a prearranged sweep of the hand fit for Royal appearances. To everyone’s surprise the rear doors of the ballroom swing open to disclose a dozen formally attired waiters carrying crowded trays of Champagne flutes filled with a farmer’s recently disgorged Grand Cru Brut Rosé from the small village of Ambonnay. Sound like a midsummer daydream?
Pinch yourself if necessary, but serving Grower Champagne to a crowd of garden bloggers is perfect symmetry. The foundation for this blogger/grower alignment statement rings clear to me, but I do feel the urge to explain; national magazines sourcing content from various writers are to large Champagne houses as bloggers are to French farmers producing their own individually crafted sparkling wines. The unique authenticity of a blogger’s voice is a media analog to the artisanal Grower Champagne movement. While large Champagne houses acquire and blend scattered geographic fruit sources to achieve and sustain recognizable brand styles, thousands of small growers manipulating their own vineyards’ harvest (Récoltant-Manipulant) achieve a singularly authentic expression of terroir and personal winemaking styles. Is the analogy clearer?
Organizing blogger conferences turns daydreams into reality for me. It gives me the opportunity to weave my life of wine together with their personal passions and blogger dedication. I will never forget one Saturday night thirty years ago, sitting with my (now) wife in a famous New York City French restaurant after a busy and tiring day day for both of us. Never having tried one, we decided to begin the meal with two Kir Royales. On a dime, the Champagne cocktails shifted stressful days into an evening’s prism of mellow calm and warm smiles. I never underestimate Champagne’s ability to transform real life experiences and human emotion anymore.
I love bloggers. The good ones are doing something energetic, authentic, and personally important. And so does Andre Beaufort, a gardener (of sorts) in Champagne. My choice to serve his one-of-a-kind delicious wine to garden bloggers seemed appropriate since he is one of only a few longtime biodynamic farmers, minimizing chemicals in the vineyard since the early 70′s. Beaufort produces Grand Cru Brut NV Rosé from 100% Pinot Noir, has dozens of native plants coexisting alongside the vines, and uses homeopathic approaches to eliminate as much sulphur and copper usage from the vineyard as possible. How could garden bloggers have any problem with that?
On top of all these connections, the wine is riveting, in your face, and delicious. It rivals a sparkling Nebbiolo that I once called the “the best sparkling wine ever” for it’s “pay-attention-to-me” character. Andre Beaufort performs dosage only at disgorgment and his particular NV bottling was disgorged in May 2013. It’s a beautifully light red colored liquid, just like mildly diluted cranberry juice. The bubbles are so small and so plentiful that they create a tingling foamy cushioned sensation on your palate. The sensation is as if your tongue is instigating more and more bubble creation. As noticeable is the favorite combination of funky earth and herbs combining with pure red fruit aromatics. Fresh strawberry and crunchy red cherries fill your senses. The wine demands your attention, disallowing even a single casual sip. Andre Beaufort’s Brut Rosé is powerful, concentrated with interesting Pinot Noir flavor, fresh, and full of swishy bubbly zing. The Champagne sells for anywhere between $60 and $100 at retail.
If you get to try this wine, you won’t blame me if tell you I recoiled just a bit thinking about sharing my entire Beaufort allocation from Chambers Street Wines with 150 people I barely knew. But the transformation of the conference room’s mood, the conviviality it sparked, and the new friends I made by connecting my passion with theirs was priceless. Only the appropriate and best will do for new friends. Watching smiles and cameras flash across the now metamorphic room reminded me of the night my wife and I drank our first Kir Royales. Once again, a bubbly garden blogger moment triggered my own personal alert system to design Champagne into more of the episodic settings that define my life.