Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jer[oboam] was a Bullfrog

I have no cool or humorous frog reference. Not a good Three Dog Night one, either. Sometimes, when I have an idea for a post, I just put in the title, then come back and write it later. Clearly, I thought a play on "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" (the first line from Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World") was something rather clever and/or amusing.

Now I'm sitting here, thinking, "this is a really stupid name for a post." But, I suppose I'm stuck with it.

Anyway, after spending a fun-filled weekend in birthing and labor classes, I can't help but focus on the impending arrival of my baby daughter. More specifically, the celebration associated. Not surprisingly, I feel toasting with a proper bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine seems quite appropriate. My problem is always doing something with restraint, or at least on the level of normal human beings. I want to celebrate BIG. I want to completely leapfrog everyone else when it comes to the scale of jubilation.

"Leapfrog"...bang! Frog reference realized. Must've been those pork chops I ate for dinner last night. Don't let those wily Fish Industry marketeers fool you: pork is the REAL brain food.

Okay, so I'm gonna welcome my daughter into the world in a big way, and there seems to be nothing better than a giant bottle of bubbly. Luckily, the Champenoise have a knack for such an opus. In fact, one can find sparkling wine in a literal plethora of sizes. "Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of Champagne bottles?" Yes, El Guapo, and here they are:

Split: 1/4 bottle, or .187 liters
Demi: 1/2 bottle, or .375 liters
Standard: 1 standard 750 ml or 3/4 liter bottle (known in liquor as a "fifth")*
Magnum: 2 standard bottles, or 1.5 liters
Jeroboam: 4 standard bottles, or 3 liters
Rehoboam: 6 standard bottles, or 4.5 liters
Methuselah: 8 standard bottles, or 6 liters
Salmanazar: 12 standard bottles, or 9 liters
Balthazar: 16 standard bottles, or 12 liters
Nebuchadnezzar: 20 standard bottles, or 15 liters

*ever wondered why it's called a "fifth"? Me too. 750 ml is actually about 1/5 of a U.S. gallon. Quiz a hobo the next he asks you for a fifth. If he gets it right, he gets the booze, and a little education.

**funny side-note. When I was memorizing these bottle sizes during my CSW certification, someone suggested the following mnemonic to remember the bottles larger than a standard: Magnum, Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Methuselah, Salmanazar, Balthazar, Nebuchadnezzar = MJRMSBN = "Michael Jackson Really Makes Small Boys Nervous". I know, it's terrible, and it doesn't really apply anymore, but not matter what I do, I always run it through my head to remember the bottles. Damn mnemonics!

While I can't say for sure why these wines are put in all these different bottle sizes (other still wines are put in larger bottles too), I suspect it has something to do with presentation. I've heard some say that the wines age better in larger bottles, but I also think that people have always relished the novelty of showing up with a giant bottle of wine at a celebration. It's like being a prop comic. Imagine being the Gallagher of the wine party? It'd be totally awesome, except for the Gallagher part.

In Champagne production (or any bottle labeled "méthode champenoise", "traditional method", "cap classique", or any variation/translation of those), a secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle to create the fizz. However, in some of these huge bottle sizes, such a process is a little unwieldy. Therefore, the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in standard bottles, and then they are emptied into a pressurized tank, treated with dosage, and the wine is loaded into the crazy Gallagher bottles. This process is known as transvasage. Half bottles, standard sizes, magnums, and jeroboams require secondary fermentation in the bottle; transvasage is not allowed.

And so, I'm on the lookout for one of these "large formats" (as the geeks call them). Champagne and sparkling wine are all about celebration, and I can't think of a better occasion. Either that, or I just want to relate with my baby child, thus the need for nursing from a bottle. While I'm leaning towards a bottle of Taittinger (one of my favorites), I'm open to any recommendations any of you may have!

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