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Copyright © 2012
by Fred McMillin
A Fine Valentine
On this day of romance, here are two views of marriage.
Now, let's get serious.
In 496, Pope Gelasius I names Feb. 14 Valentine's Day, after two Roman saints of that name who lived three centuries earlier. (S.F. Examiner)
In 496, Clotilda, a Catholic princess of Burgundy, converts her groom, Clovis I to Christianity and the King of the Francs is baptized at Reims. They would have four sons, and Clovis, during his 30-year reign,would build the foundations that led to the rise of France and the German Empire.
So, Clotilda and Clovis could have celebrated the first Feb. 14th Valentine's Day in Reims, the future Champagne center.
Staying in Reims, let's fast-forward to 1777. The stork visits the mayor's home, leaving Nicole Barbe Ponsardin. She would marry young vintner Francois Clicquot, be widowed at age 27, and become the most important female vinter of the 19th century. (See Dec. 3, 1999 WineDay)
All this means that tonight my Valentine of 43 years and I celebrate with Clicquot Champagne. My panel just tasted a magnificent one.
The Valentine Wine
Veuve (widow) Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne
Speaking of the Widow Clicquot, it's particularly appropriate to serve the demi-sec (has some sugar). All Champagne during her lifetime was sweet. The first shipment of unsweet Champagne reached England in 1874.
This page created February 2000