The Story of Champagne

It’s the holidays and there is nothing better than Champagne to celebrate the end of a great year…or shall I say vintage! France is home to many of the world’s most iconic wine regions, and one of the most notable is Champagne. This cool climate area is located just east of Paris, and known for its bubbles. Champagne is traditionally made with three types of grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The secondary fermentation happens in the bottle in cavernous underground spaces, giving the wine its tiny, luxurious bubbles.

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Historically known as the spiritual capital of France, it was in Champagne where French kings were crowned – which was celebrated with wine. Given that most of the wine was made by monks, Champagne became associated with the upper class, royalty and celebrations. Notably, a monk by the name of Dom Perignon discovered how to make white wine from red grapes. Also now a household name, Madame Clicquot developed the “riddling” process and was the first to adjust sweetness levels for preferences. These two people were influential to create what is now modern day Champagne – the region and the wine. The bubbles in Champagne were at first a mistake, but as anyone who opens a bottle of bubbles can attest to, it is the best part! Everyone – even the monks – agreed.

Cool Champagne Facts:

> Most Champagnes are non-vintage (NV) wines, meaning that wine is blended from multiple years. If a bottle has a year stamp on it, you can be sure it is very special and that all the wine is from one single vintage.

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>Blanc de Noir means white of black. This refers to the fact that the white wine has been made with 100% red grapes

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> Blanc de Blanc means white of white, meaning the wine is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes

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> The most common style of Champagne is known as ‘Brut,’ which means it has less that 12 Grams of sugar. Historically people preferred sweeter wines, and as the modern Champagne industry grew, the wine got drier.

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> In 2009, a bottle of 1825 Perrier-Jouët Champagne was opened and officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest bottle of Champagne in the world.

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> Champagne is usually served in a Champagne flute, but was also served historically in a wine glass, modelled after Marie Antoinette’s breast.

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> Sabering a bottle of wine, or quickly removing the head of the Champagne bottle with a large sword, is done to dramatically open the bottle and evoke an emotion of celebration and excitement.

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Our Champagne Recommend is

Taittinger Champagne ($59.95)

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Angela Aiello

Angela Aiello

Making wine awesome since 2006 Writer, Educator, Host, and Founder of The Wine Club iYellow Angela Aiello has-been Involved in the world of wine & food for over fifteen years. From TV to Radio to Internationational magazines, she's got the world of food and drink at her finger tips.
Angela Aiello