Irena Patar’s first taste of Champagne came from her beloved, worldly uncle, who handed his niece a flute, knowing full well he was about to change her life for the better.
“Actually, sparkling wine was the very first alcohol I ever had. My uncle came to visit us from Georgia, and he gave me my very first taste on New Year’s Eve with our family,” Patar recalls, speaking from her home in Westhampton Beach. “It was a very memorable night. It still stays with me. He was my favorite uncle and a big influence for me.”
In that same spirit of bubbly discovery gifted to her years ago, Patar, long a fan and eager student of Champagne, recently launched a trio of sparkling wines under a curious name: Single, Married, Divorced. But that’s not meant as a winking “Sex and the City”-ish nod to relationship status. Instead, Patar wants you to celebrate whatever state of mind you’re in.
“I’m married, but in my marriage sometimes I feel all three—sometimes in one day!” she laughs. “It’s important for people to remember who they are and not lose their identity in a relationship. I feel like in marriage, a lot of times you can forget about yourself and making sure you’re exercising self-care.” Recently, she and her husband had dinner with five or six couples, and all were talking about how so many couples feel they need that divorce time—not meaning they wanted to actually separate from their respective spouses, but more as a symbol of grabbing some “me” time to reflect on themselves and re-energize.”
To Patar, opening a bottle of Single isn’t necessarily a declaration, but instead a reminder to seek out the people and things that bring joy into her life. “If I’m pulling out a bottle of Single, it can simply mean I miss my friends and I need a girls’ night out. It’s not about having an affair, but a reminder to take time out and have a fun night with friends.”
As for Married? That’s all about reconnecting, whether you’ve signed a marriage license or not, and is Patar’s way to celebrate and rekindle a special connection.
Labels aside, Single, Married, Divorced isn’t just about messages on a bottle; it’s also really good bubbly. “You know, with such big food and wine lovers [in New York], our palates are spoiled. It was important to us that the quality of the wine was there,” she says. “We wanted to be as close to Champagne as we could.”
Patar chose to work with a producer from the Loire Valley, France, a region renowned for its excellent sparkling wines, made with the same traditional methods at the heart of crafting Champagne. Here, though, the gorgeous grapes in the cuvee reflect the region from which they hail: a blend of 70% Chenin Blanc, 20% Chardonnay and 10% Grolleau. It’s pale gold like the yawning morning sunshine, with an energetic rush of fine bubbles, pushing the aromas of pear and subtle nougat to tickle your nose. When you taste it, it’s gorgeously refreshing with notes of ginger and winter satsumas, but cracker dry with a long, minerally finish—something to celebrate in and of itself.
Patar will host a debut pouring of Single, Married, Divorced Saturday, February 4th at Westhampton Fine Wine (171 Montauk Highway, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-0138) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., where bottles sell for a wallet-friendly $29. The bubbly is also available at Manhattan’s Ambassador Wines.
“I think we all need a reminder of how precious life is. And I think this is a great reminder for people to just enjoy who they are; don’t let things like relationship status define you,” Patar said. “Just be who you are. And live it!”