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.