About 1994 we were on a trip to Chicago and we had some free time and we were walking and shopping. We ended up in a gallery that featured posters, not the glossy paper reprints that can be found anywhere; these were canvas like, for exterior use like being glued onto a kiosk. We found a delightful poster that was offered in three different sizes, the largest was just too large for a wall in a house, so we settled on the medium sized one. The gentleman that was helping us at the gallery kept alluding that the rumor was that it was Grace Kelly that was lady in the black evening gown in an advertisement for Taittinger Champagne. I could not ascertain if it was Grace Kelly, but the story was good, the canvas poster was well designed and it was relatively affordable, until we got home and had it framed.
I never really thought about it much after we hung it up on a wall, until I got off on this tangent of art and wine memories. So I tried to do some research, though mostly what I found were paper copies of this poster offered at all price ranges, and all proclaiming Grace Kelly and Taittinger Champagne. When we made the purchase I had presumed that perhaps she had modeled for this advertisement prior to her being discovered by Hollywood. It appears that this promotion began in 1988, so the poster was not as old as I had imagined and was created by Claude Taittinger and that there was a paper poster version of this made to be given out with each case of Taittinger Champagne. Not to mention that this artwork was used in print advertisements for periodicals and rotogravure sections of papers.
Taittinger Champagne is one of the fabled houses of Reims, and they were founded in 1734. The two main grape varietals that are used to make Champagne are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This discourse is not the time to discuss the many steps required to make Champagne, and most Champagne that is purchased is of a non-vintage blend, that the houses all make year after year all with the intent of keeping their “taste” similar, and on occasion when there is such a spectacular harvest they will declare a vintage issue. I have only had Taittinger Champagne once in all of the bottles of Champagne that I have had that I can recall, or I have only been able to save one label for proof. I still find this a wonderful story each time I look at the poster hanging on our wall, and I still relate the romantic story that I was told when we purchased it years ago.