8 part video series on the history of Champagne filmed in France

A Tasting Menu with champagnes


A Tasting Menu with wines from a few Houses that were showcased in Champagne Journal.

Blanc de Blancs
Salted almonds
Smoked fried oysters
Guacamole and light corn chips

Pommery Champagne Blanc de Blancs "Summertime" NV

Malfatti Florentina with Rose Champagne at Coco Pazzo

Compressed Tamra and Kristin at Coco Pazzo

Winter lunch with my good friend Tamra Weiss, Wine Director and Owner, along with her husband Jack, of Coco Pazzo, one of Chicago's leading restaurants.

I highly recommend this fabulous Coco Pazzo dish with champagne! Packed with a lot of flavor, but light in body, it paired perfectly with Rose Veuve Clicquot! I had never had this delectable dish before and truly loved it! Thank you Tamra!

"Malfatti Florentina"


Birthday champagne


Ada Street Restaurant in Chicago created this fun birthday Champagne for my friend Sarah. Yes, she quickly blew out the candle with her birthday wish before sipping it. We did not have any cake and went straight to the champagne! Such a cute candle idea for a birthday champagne toast, so I wanted to pass it along.

Fast food with Champagne, Yes please!

 Lanson mit Lachs Semmel

This is my kind of fast food! I took this picture in the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt. This gentleman is enjoying a salmon sandwich paired with Lanson champagne. Perfect! Lachs Semmel mit Lanson! Read More...

A Champagne Toast to the Allied Forces of WII

Picture from the Champagne Bureau

This Memorial Day let us remember and pay homage to the Allied Forces of WWII!! A heartfelt thank you to the "Greatest Generation"!

Allied Troops shown here in front the the Rheims Cathedral, located in the heart of the Champagne region.

Look Cool with a Champagne Cork Cooler

cork champagne cooler

OK , it's not fancy and formal and it gets the chilling job done in a unique way! Cork certainly is waterproof, and now a cooler and a fun conversation item! Read More...

Champagne Journal presentation at Womans Athletic Club of Chicago

WAC bio of Kristin Noelle Smith

Had a terrific time at the WAC this week doing a presentation on my Champagne Journal documentary and then dinner afterward of seared scallops with kale paired with champagne naturally! Thank you to the WAC for having me! Read More...

Wine menu from White House State dinner with French President

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 8.28.43 AM

Curious what the wine menu was at this week's White House State dinner for the French President? Read More...

Brut or Rose Champagne Gummy Bears


Sugarfina sells champagne infused Gummy bears from Germany in Brut or Rosè flavors! FUN!
They are fat free, don't have any artificial flavors or colors. They also are gluten free and have no corn syrup!

Champagne Sorbet Recipe

champagne sorbet

Serves 8

300g (10½ oz) caster sugar
250ml (9 fl oz) water
600ml (1pt) sparkling white wine
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 egg whites
4 Tbsp icing sugar


Smoked salmon spread to pair with champagne

smoked salmon spread

This smoked salmon spread is truly fabulous with a glass of champagne.

Put all the ingredients in a blender and Voila!! You have a super delicious and easy dip that is good for you. This may become a staple in your home too!

Prep time: 15 minutes


Champagne, Shrimp and Pasta

champagne shrimp pastaphoto credit Venguyen

Tres easy and tres elegant! Try this champagne, shrimp and pasta dish!

"Toss hot, cooked pasta with cream and parsley, spoon the rich shrimp with champagne and cream sauce over the pasta, and top with

Business Lesson 10 to learn from champagne

Claude MOET
Claude Moët

10. First mover advantage.

It goes without saying, one must have a good product to build up a first mover advantage. And by most accounts, champagne is, indeed, a very good product!!! Though the champagne bubbles were first considered a flaw and the winemakers tried everything to get rid of them (especially the monks... they couldn't have fizzy wine for their mass service). Read More...

Business Lesson 9 to learn from champagne

Krug label

9. The Law of Supply and Demand.

Krug Champagne also offers single vineyard champagnes. These break the rules of blending and don’t use grapes from multiple vineyards. Instead, just as it sounds, the grapes come from a small, single vineyard. Read More...

Business Lesson 8 to learn from champagne


8. Don't accept defeat!

Never never never quit. Iron sharpens iron. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. There is a law of nature that states the best products always are made under difficult circumstances, because they are forced to surpass themselves. Champagne is no exception to this law. Read More...

Champagne Truffle Recipe


A delicious, satisfying small treat with only 88 calories!

Looking for a great make ahead gift idea for the holidays or for yourself anytime? Give Cooking Light's Champagne Truffle Recipe a try! Hands on 20 minutes to assemble, 2 hours to chill dough, then scoop into balls and refrigerate until ready to serve. Read More...

How to best clean your champagne glasses


Follow these recommended steps for getting your flutes ready!

Wash by hand one at a time. Don’t put in the dishwasher.

1. Use a paper towel to wipe around the rim to eliminate any smudges from lips, due to food or lipstick for example.

Business Lesson 7 to learn from champagne


7. Think Vertical Integration.

Following the French Revolution in the late 18th century, the Champagne vineyards, previously owned by the clergy and wealthy, were confiscated by the State and divided into many small plots and sold. Read More...

Business Lesson 6 to learn from champagne

Veuve Clicquot lable

6. Build a better mousetrap.

Improving an existing product may just be the path to your fortune. Read More...

Business Lesson 5 to learn from champagne

Affiche Louise Pommery

5. Listen to the market.

Do this even when your company staff is skeptical and fears losing customers who like the way your product/service currently is. Status quo is frequently not the way to go. Read More...

Business Lesson 4 to learn from champagne

Louis XIV Sun King

4. Harness the power of celebrity spokespersons or endorsers.

The wines of Champagne were mostly known locally until the French kings, who resided in the Palace of Versailles, helped spread their popularity within France and other countries. Louis XIV first tasted champagne as a teenager at his coronation in the Cathedral of Rheims in 1654 (located in the heart of the Champagne region), and afterwards, it is reported he rarely drank anything else. Read More...

Business Lesson 3 to learn from champagne

champagne chiling

3. Don't come from a place of no.

It took two young widows, who both inherited their husband’s champagne firms, and both without any prior business experience, to solve the champagne bottle’s sediment puzzle that had been dogging the winemakers for over 100 years, and to create a new type of dry champagne that dominates the world market today!

Business Lesson 2 to learn from champagne

champagne tops

2. Do the never.

A monk named Dom Pérignon was appointed the business manager of the Abbey of Hautvillers, located in Champagne, at the age of 30 in 1668. The Abbey had been left in ruins, due to many wars and invaders. Among his responsibilities was the restoration of its vineyards and cellars.
Because of his dedication to hard work, he created multiple new improvements to the process of making wine. Read More...

Business Lesson 1 to learn from champagne

champagne foil caps

1. Turn a setback into a setup.

The law of polarity is when something appears to be truly bad, there must be something about it that is truly marvelous as well. Napoléon’s last military invasion was into Russia. It ended in failure and in full retreat back to France in 1814. The coalition of ‘enemy’ armies from Russia, Prussia and Austria subsequently invaded France. They plundered whatever they could and this included millions of champagne bottles lying peacefully within the miles of cellars throughout the region. Read More...

Sippin Champagne at Versailles

Lots of delicious champagne flowing at Le Grand Gala Extraordinaire at the Palace of Versailles!

G.H. Mumm was the bubbly of choice! Yum!

It was a fabulous night hosted by the American Friends of Versailles, to benefit a restoration project at the Château.

Selfridges new Champagne Bar

Champagne Bar Selfridges

"Situated in the corner of Womenswear Designer Galleries, and housed within a beautifully designed art deco room, The Corner Restaurant and Champagne Bar is a fantastic new dining venue for prestigious retailer Selfridges… The second floor of Selfridges is very much focused on high-end ladies fashion, including many bespoke lines, so
The Corner Restaurant and Champagne Bar was designed as a high quality restaurant that would appeal to a specific type of customer…" Read More...

No more fake champagne in China

Moets Spirit of 1743 hot air balloon
Moet's "Spirit of 1743" hot air balloon over the Great Wall of China

"No more fake bubbly in China — at least in theory,” wrote Le Figaro, reporting on the announcement that Beijing has agreed to restrict use of the name to wines produced in the Champagne region of France. Up until now, the name Champagne had been misapplied to “mediocre sparkling wines and vulgar sodas,” according to the French daily. Henceforth, it can only be used to describe the two million bottles — and rising — of genuine Champagne that are annually exported to China.

The Chinese decision represents a victory for President François Hollande, who negotiated the deal during a recent visit to Beijing, and for Champagne producers who jealously guard France’s most prestigious appellation d’origine contrôlée, or protected designation of origin. Under French law, the only sparkling wine anywhere in the world that merits the name Champagne must be made from grapes grown on officially designated plots of land in France. France’s Champagne Committee — motto: “It’s not Champagne if it’s not Champagne” — has been fighting since 1935 against what it says amounts to hundreds of instances each year of the name being abused."

"Currently, non-sparkling varieties account for an estimated 99.5 percent of the China market, while consumers remain indifferent to wine’s bubbly brethren… This summer, Moët is slated to launch the Chandon Ningxia winery, which the winemaker developed in China with joint venture partner SOE Nongken. The winery will producing high-end method Champenoise sparkling white wine exclusively for the China market, from locally grown Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc grapes…"

A Great Gatbsy post

Moet et Chandon Imperial from The Great Gatsby

Isn't this is beautiful pic! In a scene from Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," a flapper pours a 15-liter bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne over a towering pyramid of Champagne flutes at one of Jay Gatsby's lavish parties. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture)

My guess is that it is a
Nebuchadnezzar size bottle, equivalent to 20 bottles… so about 80 to 90 glasses. See my post on this awesome champagne bottle! FUN!

"The parties in F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic novel are the stuff of legend, not only in fictional West Egg but the real world as well. Now "The Great Gatsby" is inspiring Champagne-soaked soirees from coast to coast. New York City's Plaza Hotel, a Fitzgerald hangout featured in both the book and Baz Luhrmann's movie, opening May 10, is celebrating by turning its famous lounge into a Gatsby-esque Moet Champagne Bar with Imperial Gatsby cocktails."

Can't wait to see the movie..though it's going to be difficult to improve upon Redford and Farrow! Read more here:
By Jackie Burrell, Contra Costa Times


Champagne in the Arts Exhibition


The Musee des Beaux-Arts de Reims is hosting an exhibition on "champagne in the arts" at until May 26, 2013. 


My nickname is Bubbles

Maharaja of Jaipur

Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur was the last Maharaja of Jaipur.
(October 22, 1931 – April 17, 2011)

I know what you are thinking…. yah, that is nice, but what does that have to do with champagne?

Champagne Pliers

Champagne Pliers

Looking for an easy way to get the cork out of a champagne bottle?
Well, give Champagne Pliers a try!

A Champagne Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2012

Let’s pretend these pictured grapes are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, the three varietals in champagne. Yes, champagne is a perfect wine for Turkey and the Thanksgiving meal! The following are some menu pairing suggestions Read More...

A Champagne for all reasons by Crain's Chicago Business

Kristin Noelle Smith in Crains


Bottoms Up

bottoms up
(photo from Richard L. Fetter)

Ever wonder where the phrase “Bottoms Up” comes from? Read More...

Champagne Champaign

Champagne Champaign

In the early 1600s, the region of Champagne in France was a “broad, rolling plain”, where agriculture grew successfully. The Romans named this area campus, which translates to “plain” or “field”, which eventually morphed into the word campana in Italian and champagne in French. (Roman armies invaded Champagne in their conquering of Gaul. They also dug out the crayeres for limestone for roads and buildings, now these ‘chalk pits’ are used as underground cellars for storing champagne.) Read More...

Champagne Crop Report 2012

duval-leroy vineyard

“This year has been unprecedented,” said Dominique Moncomble, the director of technical services of the CIVC, Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne. And not in a good way. Read More...

Be like Bond, as in James 007

James Bond and champagne

For many, when they hear the name James Bond they think “ Shaken, not stirred.”
But for others, it’s

Grower Champagnes are Growing in Number

champagne foil tops golden

Grower Champagnes are growing in number. While the big, established champagne brands account for the vast majority of global market sales, there are also much smaller producers. Hundreds of grape growers now create their own champagne, instead of selling their grapes to the larger houses. This trend started to increase around two decades ago. Though these grower champagnes (also called estate grown champagnes) are imported into the States in limited quantities, they have a very loyal (fierce) following. Often, their champagnes are snapped up as soon as they hit the store shelves. Read More...

Champagne Smarts

Champagne Smarts Quiz Blog

Click here for the Champagne Smarts Quiz!


Royal Warrants for Champagne

Anointing of Louis XIVAnointing of Louis XIV

“Champagne… the wine of kings, the king of wines”, Guy du Maupaussant. Read More...

History of Champagne and Chicago Parallels

Champagne tulip flute tilted

This connection probably sounds very strange to your ears, especially since there are no commercial vineyards in Chicago, but when I was researching for Champagne Journal (film series based upon the history of champagne), I found several interesting parallels to Chicago. Let me explain: Read More...

Champagne helps the brain

Silver dress and champagne

Champagne has something healthy for our minds.  Yet another medical study (this one published March 2011) shows the brain benefits from moderate alcohol consumption and particularly for people over 75 years old to lower their risk of developing dementia (cognitive and intellectual deterioration). Read More...

Late Disgorgement

Bollinger RD label
What is Disgorgement? It is when the sediment (
lees) is expelled from the bottle. Lees is the wine’s leftover yeast sediment from the 2nd fermentation in the bottle. It is moved into the neck of the bottle via remuage, then flash frozen and expelled completely (disgorgement).

“To be sold as non-vintage Champagne, French law dictates the wine must age at least (on lees) 15 months after the second fermentation begins, and three years if it will bear a vintage date...


Bollinger Nebuchadnezzar

A Nebuchadnezzar is equivalent to 20 bottles… so about 80 to 90 glasses. Handle with care! And open with care for that matter too! Read More...

Thomas Jefferson on champagne

Thomas Jefferson ThJ

In two weeks, America will be voting in another Presidential election. And speaking of U.S. Presidents... this post is in honor of Thomas Jefferson, THE wine connoisseur of the 18th century and esteemed founder of our nation, who was born 269 years ago... on April 13, 1743. Yes, he was, indeed, an incredible patriot. He suffered numerous family tragedies, but persevered - thank goodness. It’s recorded he was soft spoken and had a speech impediment (no gift for oratory) and thus, would probably not have been selected for public office today, as now the media discourages candidates from running who are not ‘mediagenic’ on tv, but that is a story for another blog. Here is a short list of his magnificent achievements on behalf of America. Thank you Mr. Jefferson!

Another Thomas, Mr. T. J. Craughwell, writes in his new book,
Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée, "...by the time Jefferson toured the (Champagne) region, the famous houses of Moët et Chandon, Taittinger, and Veuve Clicquot (under a different name) were already flourishing... Naturally, Jefferson sampled the renowned wines of Champagne, but initially found them not to his taste..."


Champagne Bar Chicago

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 7.58.02 AM
Pops for Champagne has a gorgeous onyx bar!

Champagne Bar Paris

Le Dokhan Champagne Bar in Paris

Next time you are in Paris... be sure to check out Le Dokhan’s Champagne Bar. It’s housed in a former 18th century residence, now a charming boutique hotel.

“Featuring celadon wood paneling enhanced with gold and antique mirrors, this hotel bar in Paris lights up at night with a fantastic atmosphere. Keeping with its origins as the first Paris champagne bar, the passionate sommeliers introduce patrons to a different champagne house every week with three different cuvées. Le Dokhan's Bar also offers special monthly champagne-tasting events and a choice of over 50 prestigious champagne brands.”

champagne in Le Dokhan Bar in Paris
Le Dokhan Bar in Paris

I like the Empire inspired interior very much! Tres chic!

117 rue de Lauriston - 75116 Paris - France   Phone: 011 33 1 53 65 66 99

New World Record for Sabrage - 32 Champagne Bottles in 1 minute

Sabrage (also called sabering) is the art of opening a champagne bottle with a sword, first credited to Napoléon’s Army, who is thought to have started this when leaving for a military campaign in a rush... or to celebrate a victory. Read More...

Try Rose champagnes for Valentine's Day

Rose champagnes are great for Valentines Day

Looking for the best Champagnes to have on Valentine’s Day?

Try a Rosé! They come in a variety of gorgeous colors ( pale salmon to pink to very dark pink), have festive bubbles, and tastes a bit of spice from the pinot noir or pinot meunier grapes. Read More...

Bond 007 Dom Perignon 1959 Scene

Picture 2

Bond drinking champagne in You Only Live Twice from 1967

Gigi Champagne Scene

Gigi singing the night they invented champagne
Scene from Gigi movie (1958)

Louis Jourdan and Leslie Caron singing,
The Night They Invented Champagne”!

Click on this link to LISTEN:


Notorious Champagne Scenes

Notorious by Alfred Hitchcock 1946
This is such a great suspense filled movie!!! You may scroll to 6:20 to begin the champagne drinking (notice her diamond earrings! so exquisite!! Me like! )
The story all works out for the good in the end... that is all I will say for now.... perhaps the champagne helped?!

Need I say more?


Champagne by Alfred Hitchcock 1928


Alfred Hitchcock was a unique genius...most likely never to be repeated ... like Bach and Mozart. Read More...

Real Men Drink Pink Champagne

Yes, the title of this blog is play upon the old saying ‘Real men wear pink’... as in pink ties, pink shirts, pink sweaters... In short, this color is definitely not reserved for women only. Watch this above clip and note one of the world’s most handsome, most debonair, most romantic, most sophisticated, most suave, most urbane, most all around wonderful ladies man orders some pink champagne.

The trend is clear, rosé champagne imports into the USA are increasing annually. American men are, indeed, ordering it more frequently.

World's most famous champagne toast

Is this the world’s most famous champagne toast?


Over 22,000 champagnes!

chilled champagne on tray

Did you know there are over 22,000 champagnes!
Yes, indeed, and the number is expanding...here are a few new labels to add to that list.

La Traviata's Drinking Song

This above Youtube version has helpful English subtitles, but there is another clip of clearer visual quality below without subtitles.

Note: Violetta is celebrating with champagne her recovery from consumption / tuberculosis.
Sadly, she dies in the end. (Yah, yet another opera where the lead woman dies...) but in the meantime, she is paying tribute to life, love, and happiness! And we should too!

Act 1
The salon in Violetta's house
Violetta Valéry, a famed courtesan throws a lavish party at her Paris salon to celebrate her recovery from an illness. Gastone, a count, has brought with him his friend, the young nobleman Alfredo Germont, who has long adored Violetta from afar. While walking to the salon, Gastone tells Violetta that Alfredo loves her, and that while she was ill, he came to her house every day. Alfredo joins them, admitting the truth of Gastone's remarks. The Baron, Violetta's current lover, waits nearby to escort her to the salon where the Baron is asked to give a toast, but he refuses, and the crowd turns to Alfredo (Alfredo, Violetta, chorus: Libiamo ne’lieti calici – "Drinking song"). Read more about La Traviata on wikipedia.

Love Wine and Opera? Here’s a link to a fabulous wine auction benefiting Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Charity Screening of Champagne Journal

C Journal Screening

Please join me at a charity screening of Champagne Journal!

Click here for invite

Event Details:
Thursday, December 1, 2011
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Champagne tasting
7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Music scholarship awards and
Champagne Journal screening
8:30 - 9:00 p.m. Champagne tasting
At Columbia College’s Sherwood School of Music, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago
Tickets are $30 (includes champagne tasting, appetizers, and Champagne Journal screening)

All proceeds from this screening go towards scholarships at the Sherwood School of Music.


Champagne Charlie


‘Champagne Charlie’ was the nickname Americans first bestowed upon Charles Hiedsieck, because they had difficulty pronouncing his last name. Charles was the first owner of a champagne house to visit the United States (1861). Read More...