Advice Lifestyle Living

A Guide to the History of Champagne

It’s hard to believe that the history of Champagne begins with a complete accident due to careless wine-making!

Now acknowledged as the universal symbol of celebration, this ‘happy accident’ is also one of the most quintessentially French beverages, and one every woman loves to sip on whilst sharing time with friends.

But how much do you really know about this delicious drink?

We’ve gone through the complete history of Champagne and found the key points you’ll need to know if you want to sound like a true Champagne connoisseur.

Enjoy impressing your guests during your next toast with one of these fun facts!

1. Dom Pérignon was considered to be the original inventor of Champagne

History of Champagne

Bendictine monk Dom Pérignon served as the cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers in the town of Epernay within the Champagne region of France, and was responsible for overseeing its wine production, aging, and storage processes.

In 1693, Pérignon was tasked with ridding the Abbey’s wine of excess bubbles caused by the re-fermentation process.

Pérignon’s failure to de-bubble the wine, in hindsight, was his greatest triumph – upon tasting his accidental creation he exclaimed: “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!”

2. In its early days, Champagne was originally labelled ‘The Devil’s Wine’

As it was a new discovery, many of the original bottles and corks were not properly designed to hold the drink, unable to withstand the pressure of the bubbles.

In the early days, most cellars lost around 20 percent of their wine due to bottles exploding without notice. And thus, the name ‘Le Vin du Diable’, or ‘The Devil’s Wine’ was born.

3. The name ‘Champagne’ doesn’t refer to all types of sparkling wine

Many of us use the term ‘Champagne’ generically to describe any type of sparkling wine.

However, only those sparkling wines that have been produced in the Champagne region of north-eastern France are permitted to use the name.

If it’s a bubbly wine produced in any other region, it must be called Sparkling Wine.

The French have maintained their legal right to call their wines Champagne for over a century, with the rule being established by The Treaty of Madrid in 1891.

4. Champagne is made from 3 different types of grape – including red wine grapes!

As a general rule, when making Champagne, the only grapes that can be used are the white ‘Chardonnay’ grape, or the dark-skinned ‘red wine’ Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes.

But how can a white sparkling be made from a red wine grape?

Due to the gentle pressing of the grapes and absence of skin contact during fermentation, the Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier grapes usually also yield a white base wine.

Most Champagnes are made from a blend of all three grapes, and are Non-Vintage, meaning that they are a blended product of grapes harvested over different years.

5. The correct way to pour Champagne

Champagne is usually served in a beautiful Champagne flute with a long stem, thin sides and tall narrow opening.

Champagne is always served cold – it’s ideal drinking temperature is 7 to 9 °C.

To avoid any spillage when serving Champagne at your next event, open the Champagne by holding the cork and gently rotating the bottle on an angle in order to ease out the cork and allow air to flow.

This prevents the cork from flying out of the bottle and the Champagne from spraying all over your guests!

Tilt the glass at an angle and gently pour the liquid down the side to preserve the bubbles, and do not pour directly downwards otherwise this will create excess froth in the glass and cause overflow.

The birth of Champagne reminds us that the best things in life aren’t always planned.

Go with the flow, find your ‘joie de vivre’ in the everyday and enjoy life’s little ‘mistakes’. You never know what fun they’ll bring!

 

To wow your guests at your next function and to add even more French flair, why not read our guides on how to cook the Perfect Filet Mignon, and The Art of French Table Setting?

Let us know how you went in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Content sourced from Intowine.com

You Might Also Like...