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Random Fridays: Orchids and champagne

Orchids in the Veuve Cliquot Bar, Queen Mary 2

Orchids in the Veuve Cliquot Bar, Queen Mary 2

Something pretty to rest one’s eyes on while deciding between rosé and pink, vintage or non-vintage …


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click for more posts of Queen Mary 2

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Five Minutes: A glass of bubbly

Frosty, empty glass.

Frosty, empty glass.

I came across a new photo challenge last week: Desley Jane’s Five Minutes challenge. “Choose a scene or an object and keep fixed on that object, and shoot for just five minutes. You can move around the object or scene but try not to interfere with it. See what happens in that five minutes, what changes, how the light changes, what comes into the frame or leaves the frame, or what other parts of the object you can focus on or use to your advantage.”

If you scroll down the page, you’ll certainly see what changed in these five minutes. 😉

Just poured and frothing over with enthusiasm.

Just poured and frothing over with enthusiasm.

Settling down nicely with a fine stream of beads.

Settling down nicely with a fine stream of beads, and a delicate mousse on the surface.

Sip!

Sip!

Slurp!

Slurp!

Not much left now!

Not much left now!

All gone. :(

All gone. 😦

Why the pink straw? Well, how else could I drink the bubbly without picking up the glass and getting fingerprints all over it? But I’ll tell you, as “challenges” go, drinking a glass of sparkling wine — even a small glass, as this one is — in five minutes is no easy feat, and using a straw doesn’t make it any easier!

Jaunty pink straw in empty glass.

Jaunty pink straw in empty glass.

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A day with a master winemaker

The end result: a red wine called Vieux Chateau du Roi.

The end result: a red wine called Vieux Chateau du Roi.

While visiting my parents this May, I spent a day with my father making wine. To say that I helped would be a gross exaggeration, as Dad is an old hand at this. I mostly got in his way taking photos! The grape juice comes in a large (heavy!) box, along with a few other things. One distributor describes this red wine thus: “This popular French red wine is full-bodied yet surprisingly soft and quick to mature. Deep red and aggressive with complex flavours resulting from a blend of grape varieties which layer flavours and aromas of ripe fruit, berries, plum, spice oak.”

In the afternoon, we also made a batch of white wine. In the early evening, my parents and I moved onto the patio to enjoy cheese, fruit and a bottle of last year’s Vieux Chateau du Roi (the photo above). It was a good day. (WPC is looking for Mesh galleries, but I don’t have the Mesh app, nor indeed a smartphone, so I will approximate that gallery style with a slideshow. There are 11 photos and I suggest starting with 1, as the photos tell a story.)

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Here are a few other photos of Dad’s Wines:

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Warping the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I had a bit of time to kill last evening before meeting a friend, and how better to kill time on a glorious summer evening than down by the Opera House with a glass of bubbly and my camera?

sydney harbour bridge in glass of champagne

Imagine my surprise this morning when I discovered that I had captured a warped shot of the bridge in the glass!

opera kitchen opera house sydney

I was at a place called Opera Kitchen, the slightly less hectic bar/eatery beside the mega popular Opera Bar.

And here is the obligatory shot of the Opera House.

And here is the obligatory shot of the Opera House.

Descent to the caves of Taittinger

Eighteen metres (59 feet) below the ground in Reims, France, lie the caves of Taittinger, one of the finest producers of champagne. To make the descent to the caves, you must negotiate this spiral staircase.

spiral staircase to the Taittinger caves
The Taittinger caves occupy some of the vaults of the ancient Saint Nicaise Abbey. These stairs are in the old abbey vaults.
stairs from the old Saint Nicaise Abbey
In World War I, the caves were used as places of refuge for civilians and Allied soldiers. If you look closely, you can make out the year 1914 in this graffiti carved into the wall.
World War I graffiti in Taittinger caves
A pupitre with bottles is visible at the foot of these stairs. The bottles of champagne are placed in the pupitre and rotated so that the sediment collects in the necks.
pupitre at the base of the stairs
And this is what it’s all about…
Taittinger champagne
(The first four photos were taken in the caves of Taittinger in May 2005 on a poor quality print camera, and later scanned to digital. The final photo was taken in October 2014: the champagne in the glass is not Taittinger, but the backdrop is a bag from Taittinger; it appeared recently in this post.)