I still can’t quite believe it. Not a lot of sleep for me last night. At around 5am French time (11pm ET), when the New York Times and Washington Post called the election for Barack Obama, I could finally rest peacefully. Even through all the hopes, expectations, polling and predictions, it still seems slightly unreal. A lot of the commentary today is about race, which is understandable. I am not black, although as a member of a so-called “minority”, the symbolism resonates with me as well. However, what strikes me about his election is not so much that he’s black (which frankly, I couldn’t care less about), but that he is really our first 21st-century president, cut from a completely different mold than any previous others. I find it ironic that throughout most of the election, much was made about the average American not being able to relate to Mr. Obama, and yet I identify much more with him by far than with any other candidate of my lifetime (and not just because we went to the same school). Apparently I’m not the average American, either.
Now that we can all breathe a little easier, I can get back to tasting champagne. This morning, I was happy to discover not only that Barack Obama had won the presidential election, but also that there is a new and superb 100-percent meunier champagne about to be released. (Speaking of the ascendance of marginalized races.) Made by Jean Moutardier, it’s called Pure Meunier Brut Nature, and it’s unusually fine for the variety, demonstrating the characteristic minerality of the Vallée du Surmelin and feeling delicate, lithe and extremely expressive. (It would be wonderful if it could be packaged as it is in the photo, but unfortunately that’s not the real label.) If you don’t know Moutardier’s wines, they represent one of the reference points for meunier here in Champagne, although up until now they’ve always contained a small percentage of chardonnay as well. This is an inspired addition to their portfolio, and I look forward to drinking it again in the future.