The history of Champagne, its Name, Production and Use
30th November 2017
When we talk of Champagne, suddenly a grace, sophistication, and charm surround the conversation. As a drink, it is one of the most refined, classy and celebrated ones and a bottle of Champagne is usually saved for special occasions. It is as vintage and classy, as its name. The history of Champagne, takes us back to almost 350 years from now, somewhere in a region named ‘Champagne’, situated in North France, where the Romans were the first ones to sow the seeds of the vineyards, which grew to give the people this nectar from heavens. Now that region of France enjoys World Heritage status, bestowed upon it by the United Nations.
Champagne is synonymous with celebration, as it is often enjoyed at victories, parties, weddings and special unions. This sparkling wine was initially served in bottle glasses, but soon Champagne flutes and coupe glasses took over. However, the sound of popping the cork open, from a Champagne bottle, is a memorable joy even now.
Despite a lot of wars and defeats in the European regions, the merchants and counts of those areas encouraged trade to prosper the economy. One such fair that was organized to encourage travellers and merchants from across the globe and this fair was known as the ‘Champagne Fair’. It not only flourished trade of cloth but also commenced the trade of wine across the borders.
This traditional sparkling wine starts its journey by a process known as Methode Champenoise. Just like other wines, it starts its journey from grapes which are harvested from the vineyards, pressed in machines, and allowed to ferment for some days, till they get their sour taste. The acidic remains of this process are mixed with sugar and yeast, to let it undergo a secondary fermentation, inside the glass bottle. This peculiar and different step is what gives the wine its sparkle, and bubbles. The yeast ages, and dies inside the bottle, and the process goes on where the bottles are laid down horizontally for over one year or more, and in some cases even two years. Once the ageing process is complete, the wine bottles are capsized, such that the yeast can set into the bottom, after which the yeast is removed, and sugar is added to determine the sweetness of the wine. Once it tastes perfect, a wooden cork is added to the bottle to give it that traditional look and feel.
Many papers and research journals have been published about the history and significance of this special drink, and it holds a great place in the making of Europe as well. If you visit sites online, academic essay writing UK also talks a great deal about this wine and has various niches, articles, papers and even dissertation written on wine production industry.
Although some people rejoice drinking this sparkling wine straight from the bottle, it is still served in flute or Champagne Coupe glasses. The unique thing about these glasses is not only the look and shape of them but the feel it gives to the drinker or the holder. The long stem of these glasses allows them to be held only by the fingers, which makes the grip weak and light, which in turn looks graceful.
Initially, Champagne wasn’t the sparkling wine that we see today. It was a normal one, like other wines, but a winemaker’s mistake led to the popularity of the sparkling version and Champagne production rose manifold with its popularity. It wasn’t known before the 1600s, as we see today. Wines were popular, but drinks for the high-class and nobility. The common man did not have access to this luxury and particularly European kings and monarchs did not allow anyone to touch it. For them, the wine was royal and the low temperature and cold weather of Europe also played an important role in preventing it from going bad. Back then, there was no process to enhance the shelf-life of drinks and foods, and even storage options were not as diversified as today. Hence the drinks of one region largely remained limited to that region only.
Dom Perignon is called the father of Champagne, for being the first ever creator of the modern-day sparkling wine, and for inventing a technique to prevent the bottle from bursting because of bubbles. He was the master of the cellar at Benedictine Abbey, and during his time as a worker there, he made some breath-taking discoveries and invented new formulas to enhance the wine which was sold back then. Thus, Champagne continues to be the legendary drink for all special treats and occasions.
Glass of Bubbly
Executive editor of news content for the website Please enjoy the articles that we share - We hope you find our love for Champagne & Sparkling Wines both interesting and educational.