Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.



THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

WHAT IS CHAMPAGNE?

Champagne is a sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. Primary grapes are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier.  What sets Champagne apart from other wines is it is fermented twice, second time in the bottle for carbonation. Strict rules are followed to be able to use the Champagne name. If not followed, the label will read 'sparkling wine', no reference to Champagne. However many get around it by using the term mĂ©thode traditionnelle when referring to it as Champagne. 

I remember while writing MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW (4th novel in my 'Rachel O'Neill Series') I did some research on Scotch Whisky and Champagne (Rachel drinks Champagne, Maxim drinks Scotch). Found the following list of champagnes tonite, was wondering how far down the list my favorite would appear. Is yours on this one?  

TOP TEN PRESTIGIOUS CHAMPAGNES


1. 1893 Veuve Clicquo – only known bottle in existence – (Grand Marque Champagne house) – on display in Reims, France. Not for sale, priceless.

2. 1825 Perrier-Jouet – oldest know drinkable bottle of champagne found, fizz gone but still a drinkable wine.

3. 1820 Juglar cuvee – selling for $62,000 each.

4. 1907 Hiedsieck Diamant Bleu cuvee – 2000 bottles discovered in the Baltic on a shipwreck that was bound for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Averaging $3,700 a bottle after discovered.

5. 1990 Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut – One bottle sold for $18,800.

6. 1928 Krug – described by the head of Sotheby’s Wine Department as one of the greatest champagnes ever made. One bottle auctioned off in Hong Kong for $21,200.

7. Perrier-Joet Belle Epoque – 12-bottle personalized sets sold for $50,000. Joet is pronounced … “zhew-ette”, by the way, same as the Moet in Moet and Chandon.

8. Krug Clos d’Ambonnay – one of the most exclusive champagne houses. Production limited to 3000 bottles, price tag of $2500 each.

9. Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold – 3-litre bottle - $11,000 per bottle.

10. Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill - Speaks for itself, produced in honor of Churchill in 1984. Retail Price $215.


Interesting that all Champagnes come from France, however, other winemakers outside the region may use the designation if they follow the rules of secondary fermentation as I mentioned above ... you can read more about it on the following link  . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champagne . . . and by the way, all sparkling wines are not champagne.  I detest those sugary Asti sparkling wines that are passed off as Champagne. YUK!


TOP 10 INEXPENSIVE CHAMPAGNES ... yayyyyy, mine are on here:

1. Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley (Approx. $20)  I'm going to try this next.

2. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, Napa Valley (Approx. $20)
3. Non Vintage Barefoot Bubbly California Premium Extra Dry (Approx. $9)
4. Argyle 2000 Brut (Approx. $19)
5. Korbel Sparkling Natural Sparkling Wine ($12.99)
6. Gruet Brut Blanc de Blancs - New Mexico (Approx. $20)
7. Martini & Rossi Prosecco (Approx. $12.99)
8. Freixenet Brut Nature – Spain (Approx. $9)
9. Veuve Clicquot Non Vintage Brut Yellow Label (Approx. $45)
10. Cook's Grand Reserve California Champagne (Approx. $5)

I like Freixenet Brut and Korbel Brut ... but I think I'll try Roederer Brut next time. If I'm right, that just happens to be the maiden name of my friend Marianne ... she's of French lineage.

Oh, forgot to mention I prefer a Brut Champagne.

Champagne's sweetness is varied by the amount of sugar added after the second fermentation, determining the label's level of sweetness: 
Extra-Brut or Brut-Naturale 0-6 gram of sugar per liter (the driest of the dry, unsweetened)
Brut less than 15 gram of sugar per liter (dry, this is the typical style of Champagne with no sweetness)
Extra-Dry 12-20 gram of sugar per liter (still dry with a hint of sweetness or slightly sweet)
Sec 17-35 gram of sugar per liter (medium sweet)
Demi-Sec 33-55 gram of sugar per liter (sweet)
Doux more than 55 gram of sugar per liter (Sweetest, very rare and is considered as dessert wine)

Since I'm moving to England in the next couple years, I need to familiarize myself with this list.

TEN OF MOST ECONOMICAL CHAMPAGNES in England

Canard-DuchĂȘne Brut
Tesco Finest Rose Champagne Brut
Lanson Black Label Brut
Blanc de Blancs Brut
Besserat de Bellefon Cuvee
Duval-Leroy Premier Cru 
Pierre Darcys Champagne Brut
Nicolas Feuillatte NV 
Morrisons Best Champagne
Gosset Grande Reserve Brut

I love lists!   lol lol   Hope you do too. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

I DON'T KNOW . . .


That's right, I just don’t know.
I watched a documentary about Coco Channel today, and then tonight one on Jake Shimabukuro – one of the greatest and youngest ukulele players of all time. Just two of the many, many documentaries I’ve seen of famous and not-so-famous people in the world. One commonality they all have in common is the mutual drive and commitment to perfect their craft and talent.
So, what about me? Do I have it? I’m seventy-two years old. I’m a writer. A novelist. Can I possibly attain my goals at this late stage of the game? Evidently not at their levels of achievement or I’d be out there right now.
So I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Right now I’m sitting here sneezing my head off with itching, swollen eyelids – upper and lower – wondering if I should go to the doc tomorrow, the itchy swelling seems to be getting worse.  Most likely an allergy of some sort, but probably need to check it out. I put some of my standard home remedy Neosporin on my eyelids, hoping it would cut down some of it, which gave me some relief. Nose is stuffed up now.  Jeez!
Through it all I’m feeling somewhat perplexed and frustrated about my age and wondering how much time I have left to write that bestseller, and to get my writing to the point that I can honestly say … “Damn, that’s good! I did that!”  For I not only want to be writing for the masses, I want to be saying something worthwhile, albeit entertaining at the same time.  
Deep, that’s what I try to do. Write deep. One of my friends writes essays, deep, serious essays.  That’s not what I mean when I say deep.  I’m not interested in writing about ‘human cloning and religious ethic’ or ‘evaluating the role of outstanding personalities in 16th and 17th centuries’ … listed as subject matter for essays on the ‘Good Essay Topics’ website, in case you’re interested in finding an essay topic. 
When I say deep I mean deep into the minds of my characters. Getting into their subconscious minds. One author who was famous for that was Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I’ve mentioned this before. My Lord, could he ever get into the subconscious. When I can do that, I will be happy. I do at my level right now, actually. Just need to get to his level. His life experience had a lot to do with it, I’m sure.
Another of my all time favorite novelists of whom I wrote a play about, depicting her life from age twelve to ninety-two, is Catherine Cookson.  She was dictating a novel into a recorder when she took her last breath and slumped over in her chair, dead.   She wrote her first novel when she was forty-four after she took up writing as therapy to combat depression, had a vascular disease which prevented her from having children. A true rags to riches story - an illegitimate birth as Catherine McMullen in the Tyne Dock area near Newcastle, died as Dame Catherine Cookson a multi-millionaire, one of the richest in Britain. She too was able to get into the subconscious of her characters and make them leap off the pages.  More life experience.
So I’m thinking that the life experience a writer has in addition to the talent is very important when it comes to writing those characters, making them real, breathing life into them, getting into their minds. Of course, a writer must have imagination, but drawing from his own experience adds another depth to the characters.  It’s the difference between a character written by a ten-year-old and a ninety-year-old. 
So if age has anything to do with writing deep, then maybe I’m still on track.
Regardless, I certainly do not have a choice. I write because that’s who I am.  I read, I study, I write.  I experience, I live, I write.  I suffer, I love, I write.  In a nutshell, I am a writer.