Actually, it's nearly 9 :30 p.m. as of this writing and The Weather Channel is reporting it's 57 degrees. Indeed it was a day to celebrate winter's reprieve by kicking around downtown and Grant Park, and then ducking in to a fancy hotel for a little bubbly. So it was an afternoon of firsts, including a visit to the 7-year-old Peninsula Chicago, 108 E. Superior, at Michigan Avenue, and a glass of Laurent-Perrier, Brut L-P Champagne.
My God, this was not the burp-inducing, California-produced asti spumanti sparkling wine that accompanied my college graduation oh so many years ago.
This was the real-deal bubbly. Light. Golden. Smooth. Dry but with a hint of fruit that gave it a nice finish. Even a little bit soft, as the Laurent-Perrier website describes this champagne. Several wine experts tell me that while some west coast wineries produce a white sparkling wine and slap the name champagne on them, the authentic stuff comes from grapes the northeastern part of France known as the Champagne region. At around $40 bucks a bottle, according to several websites selling the stuff, it's definitely beyond the journalists-salary-friendly Three-Buck Chuck at Trader Joe's.
But then again, the mercury isn't always inching toward 60 in January.