Champagne Dame: Kyla Kirkpatrick conducts courses on champagne history and appreciation. Photo: Justin McManus
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She's called the Champagne Dame - a glamorous, raven-haired former corporate high flyer who has now "committed my life to champagne". So it's probably not surprising that a conversation with Kyla Kirkpatrick is interrupted by a delivery man bearing a case of bubbly.
"Sorry," she says, when she's back on the phone. "Back to champagne."
"I've committed my life to champagne."
Kirkpatrick will be in the capital conducting a champagne masterclass at the Canberra Centre in late November. "It's a full journey into the world of champagne, we cover a little champagne etiquette, we learn about the different champagne styles that are being produced and we look at the grand houses and the small," she says.
And of course a lot of bubbly is drunk. Kirkpatrick says her first taste of champagne came when she finished university in Melbourne and was offered a finance job in London. "There was this young country girl flying round Europe in a private jet eating at all the fancy restaurants and drinking this thing called champagne," she says. "It was a steep learning curve in luxury."
But it was one that she mastered and eventually Kirkpatrick left the corporate world to become the Champagne Dame, hosting tours to chateaus and wine maisons in France and running classes.
The aspirational glamour of a bottle of Moet isn't lost on her. "I still haven't figured this out whether people love, love, love champagne because of the way it tastes or whether they love, love, love champagne because of what it is, the association with luxury, its connection to celebration, its history, its grandness, its festive nature," she says. "I love champagne but of course I have access to some of the most beautiful champagnes on the planet and I've committed my life to champagne." Her current obsessions are champagnes from Veuve Fourny and Dom Ruinart.
Kirkpatrick says champagne is an acquired taste and if you're looking to ease yourself in, then start with rose.There's a misconception that rose is sweet, thanks to the sticky Mateus Rose styles of the '80s ("shame on them!"). But real rose is a good introduction to champagne. "Rose's actually a great place - a safe place - for a non champagne drinker to start. It's not sweet, though it has a beautiful red berry aroma… it actually has a little bit more weight and it's a great wine, a very friendly champagne to start with."
And then you'll never look back.
The Champagne Masterclass with Kyla Kirkpatrick is at the Canberra Centre on Saturday, November 29, from 2.30pm-4pm. We have one double pass to give away. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "champagne" or head to facebook.com/CanberraTimesLife for your chance to win.