The Last Wine Taboo?

Champagne—gasp!—on the rocks

Somewhere, a butler is fainting. Mais no, I’d protest, it’s not a new idea, adding ice cubes to one’s bubbly! Well, not to the French, anyway. Une Piscine, it’s called on the chic French Riviera: “a pool.” I ponder the notion, sipping Ice Imperial, Moët & Chandon’s newest release, from a curvaceous, white plastic goblet at Palazzo’s Azure Pool. Launched in Vegas over Memorial Day weekend, the pale golden champagne displays fine, small bubbles and a strong, rich structure. Another champagne-maker, Piper-Heidsieck, got minimal traction from the 2007 push of its own Piscine, a cocktail of brut champagne on ice. But then, of course, ice dilutes traditional champers. Three years later, sunbathers are again putting down their flutes of warm, dry brut but this time in favor of large goblets of Moët’s fresh and crisp demi-sec (literally “medium dry,” but really it’s slightly sweet), specially designed to stand up to both intense heat and ice cubes. This makes it ideal for daytime poolside refreshment, served on the rocks with fresh fruit garnishes (think orange, lychee and mint).