linda E

Yes I appreciate Champagne – very much actually.   You could call me an experienced, long-term champagne sipper, but a connoisseur – no.

To justify my  habit, I put some fizzy questions to my friend Bernadette O’Shea, a name synomous with champagne in Australia and France. She is a full-time champagne consultant and educator, winner of the Vin de Champagne award and a recipient of a French government knighthood. Her wonderful book Champagne & Chandeliers sits permanently on my coffee table (click here for a copy) and is a golden, glittering glamourous testament to her sheer passion and sublime knowledge of all things bubbly. I can’t believe she is sharing her fizzy intel; I appreciate it as much as I would bottle of Bollinger right this very minute. Thank you for sharing Bernadette. x


ModernMothers: Should the occasion arise where I need to fudge extraordinary Champagne knowledge, what names should I be able to rattle off?

Bernadette O’Shea: Dom Pérignon, Cristal, Krug, Belle Époque, Comtes de Champagne and Salon.  Drop any of these names and you can mix with anyone in the world!”

MM: What to sip if one has champagne tastes on a beer budget?  

BOS:  “Choose non-vintages that fall way below the $100 mark but still reflect a House style and are the DNA of the House.  So reliable and so good are Pol Roger, Bollinger, Billecart-Salmon, Veuve Clicquot, Charles Heidsieck, Ruinart,  Louis Roederer, Perrier-Jouët, Mumm, Delamotte, Taittinger.”

MM: What foods bring out the true flavour of Champagne?”

BOS: “Ocean trout, tempura prawns, oysters, parmesan cheese, macadamia nuts, duck or salmon paté.”

MM: Should one find herself mixing in champagne circles, what on earth to say!?

BOS: “After much sniffing and smelling, mumble under your breath a couple of the following…

Great autolysis!

Magnificent fine beading

Mmm.. superb length and structure

Wonderful texture and layering

Stunning nose!” (but you must smell it first!)

pix daily thursdayThe Kobal Collection Ltd.MM: Does champagne = happiness?

BOS: “Yes! It fills us with joy, happiness, enthusiasm, contentment and euphoria.  It lifts your heart, spirit and soul and certainly is the greatest tonic in the world.  It uses all the senses of sight, sound, scent , taste and all these elements create happiness and contentment!!  It expresses every mood and speaks every language!

MM: Please tell me champagne is good for me….

BOS: “There are many scientific studies to prove it is excellent for health. Champagne is good for your heart, it induces improvements in the functioning of blood vessels.  It increases the availability of nitric acid which controls blood pressure & decreases the likelihood  of blood clots forming.”

MM: Can it really improve our health?

Mia Farrow

BOS: “Organic acids in champagne actually increase brainpower  – especially learning & memory! People who drink champagne have healthy lungs and it protects from colds and coughs. It also lowers fevers! Champagne contains anti-oxidants and they clear the free radicals roaming around our bodies, causing cancer. Champagne aids digestion  – its acidity cuts through fatty foods and the carbonic acid gas is a great settler of the stomach.  It is great in the treatment of sea sickness, car sickness and morning sickness.”