Arnaud Devulder, still smiling.
Lever House wine director Arnaud Devulder was all smiles Friday night over his induction into the the Ordre de Coteaux, a not-so-secret Champagne society resurrected in 1956 by winemakers in the region. (The Ordre was originally founded by a group of Champagne-swigging aristocrats in the court of Louis the XIV.) Devulder didn't know until just before the event that his invitation there was actually for his own induction, but he joined fellow inductees (including Zac Posen) for the 90-minute ceremony that involved chevalier in long capes presenting sparkly medals shaped like the bottomless champagne flutes called "Pomponne." Members of the order are charged with spreading love of Champagne and, as the head of the wine's trade association reminded guests repeatedly, informing the public that not all sparkling wine (especially — sacre bleu! — Korbel) is Champagne. The accompanying dinner paired multiple courses with bubbly like Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle (blending three of the house's top vintages) and small-batch Salon 1997.
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