Considering Champagne in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

Posted on: December 18th, 2013 by

I’ve been pondering this passage from Ernest Hemingway’s seminal Lost Generation novel, The Sun Also Rises.

The Sun Also Rises and Thoughts on Champagne

Here are my thoughts:

“I say that is wine.”

Thank you, Brett. For many, Champagne exists in a separate category from wine. People think of it as a special outlier. You can listen to my conversation with David Speer, owner of the Champagne-dedicated Ambonnay Bar in Portland, OR, to find out why this wine deserves to show up with more regularity in your life.

“You don’t want to mix up emotions with a wine like that.”

Here I must disagree with the generous Count Mippipopolous. Of course, there are wines that stir the emotions, but considering the context and company, wine is almost always imbued with emotion. It may be coming from within, inspired by others, or part of a big noisy mess from a boisterous crowd. It’s impossible to appreciate wine in a vacuum like the Count suggests. I see where he’s coming from, wanting to focus in on the wine for the wine’s sake without distraction. But it’s not my bag. I, would, however, be happy to discuss it over magnums of Champagne, as is his proclivity.

“You ought to write a book on wines, count.” I said.

“Mr. Barnes,” answered the count, “all I want out of wines is to enjoy them.”*

While I would totally read a wine book written by the Count, and would definitely attend his Champagne-soaked book signings and maybe even follow him on tour like I would have the Grateful Dead, I applaud his pleasure-centric philosophy.

Toast to enjoyment this holiday season. (Sorry, Count; we’re raising out glasses.)

More Champagne:

The Only Special Club That Interests Me

Fat Corks and Potato Chips

*Though is it contradictory to chide someone for conflating wine and emotion and then state that the sole thing you’re looking for from wine is pleasure?

Another book (beyond The Sun Also Rises) that unexpectedly touches on Champagne:

Champagne, Doritos, and Sand

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