Thursday, June 14, 2012

Champagne Journey

Years ago on holiday in Cannes while taking a picture of my family, a young man jumped into the shot and said, “I am Jean-Francois and I am a show!” He asked if he could take our daughters to a dance club in Juan-Le-Pins. We insisted on meeting his parents first. The next day he arranged a meeting with his family. Over a glass of Champagne a lasting friendship began. The Sainz family produces Champagne in the small village of Bouzy, south of Reims. On every trip to France we connect with them for dinner in Paris or in Bouzy. One visit Jean-Francois asked if his sister Alex could come to Denver to work for us at Wesco Fabrics as an intern. Alex worked in our Wesco Fabrics’ showroom and delighted customers with her wonderful accent and sweet smile. During her stay Marla introduced Alex to Chris, our son-in-law Ray’s best friend from college, while on a trip to San Francisco. It was nothing but lightening bolts from then on! A love affair blossomed.

Alex asked Marla to be her matron of honor in the wedding in Bouzy.

We walked to the cathedral for the ceremony! Our daughter Lisa remarked, “the whole town must be here!” This is quite common in rural French villages.

We had a reception for all the out-of-town guests at the nearby Chateau de Juvigny the day before the wedding. Jean-Francois brought cases of his family’s Champagne, Andre Clouet. Ray is chatting with our friend Kathy Auzas from Paris. Over 500 bottles of Champagne were served during the three days of festivities!

The Sainz family wine cellar was dug under the house in the early 1700’s. Jean-Francois is showing lees that have settled into the neck of the bottles. The cold and dark cellar is a treasure trove of new and ancient vintages!

Jean-Francois serves my mom a bottle of Andre Clouet during a visit to Alex and Chris in California. She adores Champagne!

All of Alex’s relatives in Bouzy make Champagne. Since it was their first trip to America she arranged a stretch Humvee to take them on a private tour of her favorite wineries in Napa Valley. Marla and I happily joined them!

Today, Alex works in the wine industry in Sonoma and Napa Counties. She carries on the family’s enological DNA. Many Wesco Fabrics’ showroom customers still ask about that cute young lady from France. We love visiting them in California and you can just imagine how much Andre Clouet is served!

P.S. Andre Clouet can be found at fine boutique outlets around the U.S. Wine guru, Robert Parker, rated one of their top bottles an amazing 94 points! Anyone ready for a sip of the bubbly?

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