In Victoria we are blessed with one of Australia's most respected locally produced champagnes.... err.... sparkling wines (a few years back the French got very sensitive about the use of the terms 'champagne', bordeaux' etc!). This isn't surprising because our Domain Chandon is produced and owned by the world-renowned Moet & Chandon, that stable stalwart from LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesey).
But the relative merits of brand were recently forced upon me by the imminent task of lubricating friends in the car park at the Spring Racing Carnival. The best price I could get on the Moet was $53 a bottle. The local variety, on the other hand, was $29. When you're buying a number of bottles, you discover this discrepancy has a horrible multiplying effect, to the point where you question the premium you're paying for Chandon relative to, well, Chandon.
Now I am not a champagne/sparkling wine afficianado, but knowing brand is often about perception, I considered buying half and half was a pretty good option. This was based on the rationale that while perceptions and brand awareness were pretty sharp when the first cork popped at around 9:30 a.m., they were somewhat muted by the time the last popped at around 7 p.m.
So, if you're thinking of crashing my party tomorrow on Derby Day, or on Melbourne Cup Day, and you're feeling a bit brand-sensitive (common meaning: "snobby") make sure you're early! And if you're late in the day, you will be turfed out forthwith if you dare to discourse the difference between the morning brew and the local product.
Cheers! Make sure you pick a winner so you can shout next year's Moet & Chandon!