I watch Korean society. Over the past year and in my 3 recent fall 2008 trips to Seoul, I see the rise of Korea's young urban professionals. Outside Korea being a status conscious society, it's rare to see young urban Koreans that are not well groomed. BTW I see this look as very professional and a plus for a nation looking to compete in global markets.
I know this look and mindset well, too. In the 1980s, I was a Yuppie--young urban professional. ( see Yuppie)
Outside fashion, watches, and food-- I see "drink" as a yuppie trait. This article in Korean Herald appeals to Koreans getting ready for the Holidays and New Year. It just confirms my observations and thought process. In fact, one would have seen similar articles in the New York Times in the 1980s. For me it's deja vu.
Korea Herald notes...
For most, New Years is a time of resolution and closure, a time to celebrate the safe yet tumultuous passing of the previous 365 days. But for those who love food and wine - especially wine - it is the perfect excuse to splash out 100,000 won on a bottle of bubbly.
What it is about Champagne that intoxicates? It is not just the speed with which the alcohol rises to the head, but the giddy pleasure one experiences from having millions of dense and tiny bubbles racing and bursting across the tongue, shooting out flavors and fragrances.
Without a doubt, Champagne is a luxury and has made a mark for itself by catering to royalty like Napoleon and Madame de Pompadour. But Champagne deserves the merit and lavish attention it receives, even if that honeyed drink disappears within seconds.
To maximize the enjoyment, chill the Champagne to 7 to 9 degrees Celsius, and serve it in a tall, slender flute.
Why the tall glass? Its small opening prevents those delicious bubbles from escaping and concentrates the scent of the wine.
Naturally, with an extensive list of Champagnes to choose from, the question arises: Which Champagne merits the investment?
Both Westin Chosun Seoul sommelier Kim Hye-ryung and a representative of the wine shop/bar Tour du Vin selected Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and Dom Perignon 2000 as ideal Champagnes to greet 2009.
Founded in 1772, the premium Champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, according to sommelier Kim, produces a wine that "gives off the fragrance of white-fleshed fruit, raisins and vanilla."
Kim recommends pairing it with appetizers or with seafood and fish, while Tour du Vin opted for a soft cheese from the French Champagne region.
The more upscale selection, Dom Perignon 2000, possesses a satiny texture and initial aromas of almond and grapefruit, followed by a spicy fragrance and a finishing note of slightly toasted brioche, says sommelier Kim.
Tour du Vin praises Dom Perignon for its tens of thousands of uniform bubbles and chooses caviar as its match made in heaven. Sommelier Kim agrees and also suggests giving saffron ice cream a try.
For those who want to pair chocolate or chocolate cake with their Champagne, Tour du Vin says that Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 1999 goes supremely well with rich cacao.
According to their representative, the clear and cool Champagne imparts an initial scent of almonds before ending with a toasty fragrance. And the delicate bubbles of the vintage have been likened to "shining stars" and "pearl necklaces," attesting to the level of quality of the Champagne.
For, as wine expert Ahn Joon-buem of Chez Joey attested, a good Champagne has "small, delicate, dense and multitudinous bubbles that keep rising to the surface until you have sipped the last drop."
Two other outstanding Champagnes that boast eternal chains of pearled bubbles and an elegant effervescence are Bollinger Special Cuvee and Champagne Delamotte.
"Featured in many James Bond movies, Bollinger Champagne goes well with caviar and foie gras," says Shindong Wine Hyundai COEX Department Store sommelier Lee Ho-jin, 29.
"Bollinger Special Cuvee has the appropriate weight and depth," wine expert Ahn stated.
Seorae Village wine shop Ten to Ten's manager, however, pushed for Maison Delamotte's Champagne.
"It is recommended by Michelin-three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire," said the manager, pointing to a bottle of Delamotte which she claims was autographed by Gagnaire himself.
The Champagne house cultivates high quality Chardonnay and produces only a small amount of Brut, Blanc de Blancs, a Vintage Blanc de Blancs and Rose.
For those who want a safe bet, turn to Moet et Chandon, opting for their reasonably priced Brut Imperial or their 2000 Grand Vintage.
"Moet et Chandon received the spotlight the moment it entered the domestic market," said expert Ahn. "It is round and has the right weight."