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Bubbly Beginnings for a Champagne

What better way to introduce a new French Champagne than with a series of parties. The Marquis and Marquise d’Aulan (Francois and Sonia to their many friends) were doing just that as they made their way from New York to Los Angeles. The new bubbly, called Piper Rare (the d’Aulans own Piper Heidsieck in France’s Champagne district), comes in a bottle that is a copy of the one Faberge, the jeweler, designed for the great-grandfather of the marquis.

The Piper Rare flowed nonstop the night ABC vice president Gary Pudney took over the Beverly Wilshire’s Petit Trianon for a dinner party for the d’Aulans. As it did again the next night when the scene shifted to the Hotel Bel-Air where master chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck supervised the menu for the black-tie affair. At the Bel-Air, Francois d’Aulan unveiled the lapis lazuli, gold and diamond bottle, Van Cleef & Arpels’ replica of that original Champagne bottle. Whispered the Wine Merchant’s Dennis Overstreet, “It’s the perfect bottle for Aaron Spelling and his ‘Dynasty.’ ”

Hollywood shone at Pudney’s party where halfway through dinner Robert Wagner and Jill St. John urged their table to play the spoon game. Amid gales of laughter, Wagner stood up balancing a teaspoon on his nose. Tina Sinatra, Sherry Lansing and the rest practiced, but with less success. First Daughter Patti Davis (slimmer and prettier these days) was there with her husband, Paul Grilley; Rona Barrett was showing off a new hair style and quite a few of the ladies were wearing gowns that concentrated on the hipline. Dinah Shore wore a cut velvet blouson and Loretta Young, who was accompanied by Papal Knight Daniel Donohue, looked exquisite. Donohue, who has sent many a case of Champagne to the Vatican, promised d’Aulan that he would let His Holiness know about Piper Rare. More at the gathering were Hernando and Fiorenza Courtright (he made one of the toasts to the new Champagne), Maggie and Jean Louis, the marquis’ nephew, Count Charles de Poix, who will remain here for six months to help launch Piper Rare; Sandra and Nolan Miller, Eugenia Chandris, author of the “Venus Syndrome,” Joanna Carson with producer Bob Parkinson; and New Yorkers Jim Mitchell and Tony Manning who were traveling with the d’Aulans.

Puck, wearing a rumpled chef’s jacket, joined the party at the Bel-Air whenever he could be spared from the kitchen and at the end was joined in the Garden Room by the Bel-Air’s chef, Joe Venezia, in whose kitchen the grilled loup and the Sonoma spring lamb were prepared. Mrs. Puck, the beautiful Barbara Lazaroff, floated through the party, her long brunette locks moving gracefully with her green chiffon dress. Others at this celebration were the Courtrights (this time he sang “Sailor Beware”), the Bistro Garden’s Christopher Niklas, the Westwood Marquis’ Jacques Camus, Le Dome’s Michel Yhuelo, Chasen’s Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Clint, Jimmy’s Jimmy and Anne Murphy, Nipper’s Champagne boys Horatio Lonsdale-Hands and Arthur von Wiesenberger. Plus New Yorker Sandi Eberhard (she’d been at Pudney’s party, too), wine columnist Nathan L. Chroman who is president of the Board of Transportation Commissioners with his wife and daughter; Bruce and Eszter Colen, Jacques Jourdan, and David Becraft.

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Washington has had its share of legendary hosts, among them the late French Ambassador Herve Alphand and his scintillating wife Claude, the senator from Kentucky and Mrs. John Sherman Cooper, (she was one of Pasadena’s more stylish exports), and a few of the ambassadors from Morocco who entertained with exotic elan. And then there was Ardeshir Zahedi, the shah of Iran’s ambassador to the United States who presided over the Iranian Embassy in its heyday. Zahedi was famous for his caviar and his charm and since he left Washington to reside in Switzerland he and his entertaining ways have been sorely missed.

Zahedi was back in Washington recently and made a little side trip to Los Angeles where he visited often while he was the ambassador. Everywhere he went there was a warm welcome. Mrs. Charles Wick, wife of the director of the U. S. Information Agency, did her welcoming in Washington at a luncheon in the Jefferson Hotel’s Monticello Room. And there she gathered the Chief Justice and Mrs. Warren Burger, Swedish Ambassador Count Wilhelm Wachtmeister, Jane and Frank Ikard, Zahedi’s sister and the State Department’s Patrick Daly.

“He’s remembered fondly in Washington,” said Mrs. William French Smith who, with her husband, the former attorney general, hosted two parties for Zahedi, one in Washington and the other here. Jean Smith, who has moved back to San Marino, is now a true bicoastal, having flown to Washington four times last month. One of those trips coincided with Zahedi’s and so the dinner at the Jefferson. The Wicks were on the guest list along with Deborah Szekeley, owner of the Golden Door who now spends most of her time in the nation’s capital, Joe and Barbara Allbritton (he sold the Washington Star to Time magazine), Joan Braden and Bill Codus. MCA chairman Lew Wasserman and his wife Edie were at the Smiths’ local dinner party at Jimmy’s along with some other decorative people.

The Social Scramble: A magnificent (we hope) sunset over the Pacific will light the cocktail hour and candles will lend their soft illumination during dinner. It’s part of the setting for the “Dinner by the Sea” The Group (supporters of the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design) is planning June 9 at the Malibu home Jennifer and Norton Simon deeded to UCLA. Charles Champlin, Times arts editor, will be in the spotlight (either moon or candlelight) as speaker at the event.

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Harriet Beck was roasted (in a friendly way) and toasted (even friendlier) at a birthday luncheon at the Bistro Garden. Andrade-McKee arranged flowers and baskets so that the tables looked like French flower carts and among the guests were Roz Wyman, Audrey Sterling (down from her Iron Horse Winery), Ellen Byrens (back from Italy and her audience with the Pope), Dr. Maxine Ostrum, Sooky Goldman, Louise Escoe, Dascha Stuart, Shirley Alter and Marion Fein.

The dinner crowd at Morton’s one cool evening was eye catching--Dolly Parton with Sandy Gallin; Burt Reynolds with the Ricardo Montalbans; Whoopi Goldberg; Steve Young, the $40-million L.A. Express quarterback.

And lunchtime at the sociable Bistro Garden: Polly Bergen; Jayne and Henry Berger with New York’s Cheri and George Kaufman, who owns the Astoria Studios; Linda Christian, who was once was married to Tyrone Power; and the regular Friday lunch bunch that this time included Midge Clark, Louise Good, Dee Cramer, Mary Jones, Donna Asmus, Frances Skipsey and Coco Viault.

Denver’s summer season starts officially June 12 with the opening of Carousel Days (precursors of the Carousel Ball in October) in Washington Park. The 12-day event designed to increase public awareness of childhood diabetes is the baby of Mrs. Marvin Davis, who has a Denver Symphony Orchestra concert and appearances by the kids from “Fame” as part of the city-wide entertainment.


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