This weekend I’m toasting the Oscars with the official champagne of the Academy Awards: Piper Heidsieck.
I was first introduced to this delicate and deliciously fruity bubbly in Paris, over dinner with Cecile Bonnefond, president and CEO of the 230-year old champagne house. As she poured the range of Piper Heidsieck bubbles, from Cuvee Brut to Rose Sauvage, she talked about how champagne shouldn’t just be for special occasions — it really sets the mood for any occasion.
“It’s special, it’s limited, it’s so French. It’s about style, the way you set a table, the way you share a meal,” said Bonnefond. She summed it up with her signature toast, “Grand soit la vie!” which translates loosely as, “Let life be grand.” Bonnefond neglected to mention the way champagne makes people feel — larger than life; a bit like the stars we’ll be watching on Sunday, in fact.
That’s how I felt — red carpet ready — as we toured the Piper Heidsieck headquarters in Reims and later, the cool, catacomb-like cellars (former chalk quarries) where bottles are aged and stored. We ended the day in the vineyards, toasting the grapes that would one day become champagne.
My trip to France ended on a final celebrity-esque note: Piper Heidsieck table service at Paris club Le Magnifique.
I wish I could say I returned to Canada and began ordering bubbly for every occasion. Sadly, no. But there’s still time to change my ways, right? I can start by popping the cork on a bottle of Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut for no good reason except to set the mood on what’s going to be a great night!