AS summer heats up, this season’s movies give you a chance to escape as films like Sex and the City 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 transport you to exotic destinations like Abu Dhabi and the high seas. And what better way to enjoy the journey than by sipping a fine glass of Champagne? No matter where your movie of choice takes you, you’ll also be getting a taste of France.

WITH summer in full swing, the Champagne Bureau has compiled a guide to the season’s hottest movies, along with the best Champagne to enjoy with them.

1. Sex and The City 2 – A glass of Champagne will make you feel just like one of the girls during this sequel, where the crew escapes New York and heads for Abu Dhabi . Abu Dhabi is known for its fresh fish from the Arabian Gulf. Try pairing shrimp, crab, or lobster with a Blanc de Blanc Champagne and you will feel like you too are along for the ride. To be as classy as these girls, you can never go wrong with Vintage Champagne (produced from the wines of a single harvest).

2. Salt– If you’re looking for action and excitement, Salt should do the trick. Angelina Jolie plays a CIA agent accused of being a spy, who goes on the run as she tries to clear her name. What could be better with a Salty food and film than a classic Non-Vintage Brut style Champagne. The dry style of this wine will pair perfectly with many salty cuisines, but we recommend adventurous pairings.

3. Eat Pray Love – Follow Elizabeth Gilbert on her journey around the world in this movie based on her book of the same name. After a painful divorce, she sets off on a trip that takes her to Italy, Indonesia, and India to discover herself, and ends up finding much more. Try pairing romantic Rosé Champagne with Italian chocolate truffles.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Everyone’s favorite cast of swashbuckler’s returns to big screen for this 4th chapter of Pirates of the Caribbean. Captain Jack finds himself onboard a ship with a woman from his past searching for the Fountain of Youth. Soak up the coastal feel of the film as you travel the seas right along with them by sipping a Blanc de Noir, which will pair perfectly with a peppered shrimp Alfredo dish. The light sauce will be the perfect match for this full-bodied Champagne and you will truly feel as though you are cruising the high seas.

The Champagne Bureau is the official U.S. representative of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC).

Champagne Outing ‘In Style’ with four Sommeliers, one Apprentissage Sommelier and one Jazz Pianist

As a practising (and practical) Sommelier, it has long been a rule of mine to confine my examination of fine wines to dry land only, citing the importance of dexterity and balance; in other words avoiding, for instance, tasting delicate, delicious Champagnes on a 38-foot sailboat stationed several hundred metres off the coast of Lake Ontario. And yet, this is precisely what I undertook recently on the brilliant watercraft of avid boaters Liz Palmer, Wine Writer and Apprentissage Sommelier, with partner Robert Roland (jazz piano extraordinaire), both active affiliates of Port Credit Yacht Club, soon to play host to a multitude of fine wine tastings for its members. Also in attendance were fellow sommeliers Kate Hatherly, Richard Wah Kan, and Wanda Wang.

Of my hosts, let me just say that they are experts in combining the pleasures of wine and sailing with remarkable contentment — I believe the phrase “This Is the Life” was uttered on more than one occasion during my time aboard. Boarding Déjà Vu on a sunny thirty-degree afternoon, I was first treated with a refreshing serving of J’adore Tiffany Champagne Cocktail™ a creation of Liz’s own making, comprising one-thirds Champagne, mango juice, and pink lemonade. Delicious, refreshing, and strongly mango-flavoured, these were served in unusual conical-shaped glasses, which Liz had procured on her most recent expedition to Paris, from the Eiffel Tower.

The Champagnes:

Casting off and sailing out onto the water, we first partook of a lovely half-bottle of Chassenay d’Arce Brut NV ‘Sélection’ (89+/100, priced well under 20 Euros), comprising 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay, sourced from the Aube winegrowing region of Champagne: revealing lovely scents of delicate toasted biscuits, lemon, pears, dried nuts, and spice; complex and elegant, though definitely lighter-styled. Quite interestingly, the claim to fame for this smaller-scaled house is its participation with various famous artistic establishments (including the Louvre) in organizing wine-and-art events. Usually, when one hears about such activities, one tends to think of Veuve Clicquot or Moët & Chandon, not the smaller houses – a real coup if you ask me.

Our second Champagne was the exceptional Drappier Brut Vintage 2002 ‘Millésime Exception’ (93/100, approx. 90 Euros), comprising 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay: starbright, pale straw colour, offering incredible scents of fresh toast and biscuits, switching to pears, hazelnuts, lemon, green apples, brioche, and spice; extremely complex, stylish, moussy, and crisp; disgorged in March, 2010.

The Accompaniments:

With such marvelous Champagnes, Liz and Rob were wholly up to the task of providing a wide array of delightful food accompaniments for the afternoon. On her latest visit to Champagne, Liz had been able to procure a lovely packet of authentic ‘Roses de Reims Biscuits’ Champagne biscuits, used primarily as a palate-restorative by the locals whenever they partake of some bubbly. Combined with an exquisite helping of locally: (Champagne) crafted pork liver pâté, cheeses, crackers, and Californian berries (where else?), it was assuredly clear that all things edible only served to enhance what was truly a lovely Champagne-and-sailing outing … utterly worthy of mention in the inaugural column of ‘Wine Waves’.

Julian Hitner, Sommelier

Champagne Bar – Beijing

With gorgeous hard woods, caramel marble paneling and flaxen blown-glass ceiling sculptures, Champagne Bar evokes its bubbly namesake at every turn.

The Champagne list is impressive from Moët & Chandon (¥988—prices exclude service charge) to Dom Pérignon Oenotheque 1975 (¥18,958). The Champagne cocktails are the real stars. The “Chinese five-spice fizz” (¥68) is a sparkling tour de force mixing ginger-infused cognac, cinnamon, anise, clove and Sichuan peppercorn. It is a fun, delicious drink worthy of Champagne Bar’s brilliant decor and impeccable service.

Champagne Bar is located at 8 Yongan Dongli, Jianguomen Wai, Beijing 永安东里8号, 建国门外

Ruinart’s Champagne Art

Ruinart has launched “Collection Prestige” and made their Blanc de Blanc champagne a collectors item by having Milan-based artist Patricia Urquiola create a Fil d’Or or Golden Thread bottle stopper. Urquiola was inspired by the twisting motion used to manufacture cork cages. The bottle and champagne stopper costs $69.95.