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01 Dec 2021 | Samantha Dugan


“Three be the things I shall never attain:  envy, content, and sufficient champagne”

- Dorothy Parker

“Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life” - Charles Dickens

When I was younger, if you were to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would be an emphatic, “Dorothy Parker” To this day cannot remember how I discovered the writer that would form at least part of the woman I would end up becoming, but I was obsessed by the sharp witted, hard drinking, talented woman that slugged back cocktails and effortlessly delivered velvet wrapped insults with other members of the famed Algonquin Round Table.

Another favorite writer, from years before I found the lethal wit of Ms. Parker, the textured storyteller, Charles Dickens.  So, imagine my utter elation when I come across quotes about my other obsession, champagne by both writers!  It must have been in the stars this becoming a champagne specialist with a pension for late night, wine soaked, and excessively wordy prose from time to time.

Those literary legends spoke to my sense of wonder, storytelling, sadness, being without and longing, and here we are, meeting again, my eyes landing upon their appreciation of my beloved champagne.

The longing and sadness this time? Is there going to be enough inspiring champagne to keep up with the holiday season?  I thought once again of Dorothy, “Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves,” and I knew what I had to do.

We heard the rumbling in late spring.  The whispers of champagne shortages and prices going up, both to slow down the speed in which the wines started selling but also because of the shortage of available refrigerated shipping containers.  Well, the rumble became an outright roar as October arrived, and those containers that once took 60 days from cellar door to being offloaded in California were taking 5 months to be offloaded, leaving importers scampering to find and fill more containers, and get them back here in time for the holidays, even then usure if those wines would make it in time to fill all the demand.

Allocations, even on the big factory champagnes, started rolling in.  Thankfully, we don’t deal in factory fizz, but if those houses that crank out millions of cases a year were going to be rationed, what could we expect from our little artisan grower champagne producers?!

Well, you know what you can expect from your local champagne nerd.  I got on the laptop and started placing orders early for the champagnes we always stock, but I also dug in deep and asked to taste with as many new producers as I could, as well as pulling the trigger on wines I was worried I would not have enough time to promote, seeing as we cannot do our year end champagne tasting due to Covid. 

Once again I reference Dorothy Parker with a, “Excuse my dust. ” Of course, she was suggesting it as an epitaph on her final resting place, but it works here too because I took off early, leaving some folks in the dust and was able to get a good amount of our favorites:  Camille Saves, H. Billiot, R.H. Coutier, Marion-Bosser, Suenen and Huré Fréres, (but what we have here is going, fast, and that will be it until Jan/Feb) but I got a couple cases of new wines that we were able to swipe out of the grasp of latecomers.  

Try and steal grower champagne from our increasingly thirsting champagne lovers, oh no, no you won’t.

As you all know, the wines we feature and champion in our Champagne Department are made in tiny amounts and these new wines fall into the same category, for the most part making less than 6,000 cases total production.  So, even though I got my hands on some, these, too, will not last long, and there are already signs of restaurants and some retailers trying to buy champagne at full retail, just to ensure they have something to offer.  Merde.

Time to take action, folks.  Of course, there are always sparklers from places other than Champagne that are lovely, but true Champagne aficionados need that specific thing that only true champagne can fill at times.  Plus, if those other sparkling wines come from other parts of France, Italy or Spain, they are in the same boat, or stuck on some boat too. Not trying to stir things into a fizzy tizzy, just doing my job in making sure you all know what you might be looking at if you wait too long.

Two Holiday Champagne Sampler Packs


Hard to pick? Oh, I got you! How about a 4-pack sampler all selected for you? This pack includes 4 different bottles of newly discovered grower Champagne in various styles. All dry, some Extra Brut even, all truly unique and brand-new favorites just waiting to be discovered, and a 1.4oz bag of our beloved Jose Andres potato chips with virgin olive oil and sea salt.

1 bottle each of- Guillaume Sergent 1er Cru Chemin des Chappes, Claude Cazals Grand Cru Brut, 2018 Caze-Thibaut Naturellement Extra Brut, Louis de Sacy Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs



Like to explore the new but unwilling to let go of your old darlings? Yeah, I feel you, me too which is why I thought creating a 6 pack with 3 of our long-standing and cherished favorites and 3 of our new arrivals, a 1.4oz Jose Andres potato chips with virgin olive oil and sea salt and a 1.7oz Torres Selecta Foie Gras flavored potato chips.

1 bottle each of - H. Billiot Grand Cru Brut, Camille Saves Grand Cru Carte d'Or, R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, Drappier Brut Rose, A. Margaine Extra Brut and Gaston Chiquet 2010


Either will make an amazing gift for the champagne lover in your life, or ensure you will be drinking great champagne, “one of the elegant extras in life” all December long!

Happy holidays everyone and in the words of another great, legendary, indulgent, and irreverent writer, “Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial” & “Only the unimaginative can fail to find reason to drink Champagne” Oscar Wilde- Samantha


Quantities very limited due to champagne supply issues, so act quickly!


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