The most renowned French drinks champagne is associated with celebration. Popping champagne bottles at Christmas meal or New Year’s Eve is among the major holiday traditions in France.
The word “champagne” is the second most frequently used French word around the globe as it is the symbol of a party and celebrations to the max. It was once reserved only for the elite, champagne can be found in all kinds of settings such as celebrating success, to having a party to a party in Saint Tropez.
So , before you pour yet another bottle of bubbly, read everything you need to know about champagne – its history, as well as some interesting champagne facts you weren’t aware of yet.
Champagne’s history as a is long and fascinating. The presence of vineyards within the Champagne region goes all the way back to Roman times, perhaps even earlier.
in the year 496 AD, Clovis, the King of the Franks was baptized in Reims the home for champagne wines. From that point onwards, French kings were traditionally presented with an ointment at Reims as well as champagne (the drink) was served as a part of the coronation celebrations. This is the tradition that marks the beginning the champagne as a celebration drink that was consumed by a select group of people.
Although their champagne was not much to do with the champagne we purchase to celebrate New Day, their champagne could have been cloudyand red , and is referred to as ‘grey wine.’
As in other wine regions of France It was the monks that played a significant role in the cultivation of the land and also the development (and the perfection) of the champagne wines in the Champagne region. We are all familiar with Dom Perignon (1638-1715), monk who lived in the monastery of Hautvillers near Epernay who we owe the famed champenoise technique that transforms vin tranquille (wine that isn’t bubbly) to sparkling.
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Other champagne-related names worth noting include Frere Oudart (1654-1742) – – who extensively helped to perfect this method and enhance wines’ quality as well as Dom Ruinart (1657-1709), born in the Champagne region who moved to Paris and promoted champagne wine among the most famous name in the city as well as at the Palace of Versailles.
The relationship between luxury and champagne was further enhanced when the most extravagant monarch was the King Louis XIV, tasted champagne for the first time at the Reims Cathedral. It was the King Louis XIV who associated champagne with his other aversions such as fashion, prestige and luxury.
In the French Revolution of 1789, the guillotine fell which ended the connection between champagne and the aristocratic and monarchical elites. It was actually this revolution that started the third and possibly one of the strongest mythification of champagne, by tying champagne with the’soul’ and the virtues of the new French Republic.
In the Empire champagne’s wonderful destiny was fulfilled. Napoleon employed it to establish an entirely new, bourgeois, hard-working and committed society.
“I’m not able to be without champagne, even if I win, I’m worthy of it. If I loss, I’ll want it” Napoleon Bonaparte
Jean-Remy Moet founded champagne Moet in the United States, developing a new customer base, including the president George Washington. When the Russian army defeated Napoleon and re-entered Reims, the capital city. Reims The entrepreneur Madame “Veuve” Clicquot gave her cellars of champagne for the winners in the hope that it would aid her gain a foothold in her share of the Russian market.
In the beginning of the industrial revolution, champagne wines gained faster access to various markets. Because of the efficient rail network the champagne could be moved more extensively, in larger quantities, and in more locations than ever before. The latest equipment enabled an efficient production process and also made champagne more appealing both from a flavor and aesthetic standpoint. Champagne quickly became an image of France in the eyes of the world.
The champagne wine saw an international boom in around the turn of the century, thanks to Germans. The time was when French prosperity attracted Germans who settled on the area in large numbers. In the past, certain were connected to champagne properties through marriage, while some were linked to certain champagne houses. This is the reason we have numerous German names on Champagne labels like Bollinger, Krug, or Deutz.
Everything About the Champagne Wine
Champagne can be described as a kind of wine. The principal grape varieties of the Champagne region are the chardonnay grape for the whites, and pinot-noir or pinot meunier for reds.
Champagne bottles contain approximately 49 million bubbly! The distinctive bubbles that appear in every champagne are created during another fermentation process due to the addition of yeast and sugar. These two ingredients mix to create carbon dioxide, and create millions of bubbles that are trapped within a tiny space.
The only distinction between champagne and sparkling wine is the place it originates from. Champagne wine that is authentic can only be sourced directly from Champagne. Champagne wine region in France. Any other bubbly that comes from the rest of the globe must accept the label of “sparkling wine.’
The Champagne vineyard extends over 5 French department: Aisne, Aube, Marne, Haute Marne, and Seine-et-Marne (the most recent part of the current Ile-de-France) and is characterized by the marl and limestone soil. Climate is oceanic, with continental influences.
It is believed that the Champagne region is among the most northern wine regions in France. It has always been a victim of severe weather conditions – waves of hail, frost and epidemics of every kind. These dangers have forced winemakers to employ certain practices which are not considered acceptable elsewhere in French wine regions. If there’s a wine in France in which “anything is allowed it’s the Champagne Wine.
Blend several wine styles from various vintages Mix the white and red wines to make rose wine, then add sugar to the cuvee to increase the taste, search for the commonality of a flavor or style that will please the biggest quantity of people. It is also a part in the story of Champagne. The world is awestruck by it, so it’s working!
Champagne’s designations include champagne (blanc or rose) 43 champagne Premier Crus, and 17 champagne Grands Crus which are Ambonnay, Avize, Ay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Bouzy, Chouilly, Cramant, Louvois, Mailly-en-Champagne Le Mesnil sur-Oger Oger, Oiry, Puisieulx, Sillery, Tours-sur-Marne, Verzenay,Verzy.
Champagne wines are also classified according to sugar content Extra brut (0-6 g/l sugar) brut nature the brut category, which includes extra dry sec de-sec doux (more than 50g/l).
Top Champagne Brands
Tips: If you’re planning to take some bottles home with you during your excursion to France (who would resist who wouldn’t? ) Be sure to ensure that you pack your wine correctly so it can be safely returned at home!
Here’s the list of top champagne brands (most well-known champagne brands) in terms of the volume of sales:
Moet & Chandon (LVMH) : 32 M bottles
Veuve Clicquot (LVMH) : 16 M bottles
Nicolas Feuillatte* : 9 M bottles
Mumm (Pernod-Ricard) : 7,8 M bottles
Laurent Perrier : 7,4 M bottles
Piper-Heidsieck (EPI) 5 M bottles
Pommery (Vranken-Pommery Monopole) 5 M bottles
Lanson (Lanson-BCC) 4: M bottles
Mercier (LVMH) : 4,3 M bottles
Taittinger: 4,2 M bottles
However, sales and marketing aside, which is the most ad-hoc champagne?
Any wine lover or specialist magazine will have an alternative list of the top champagnes. Here’s an example of the best champagnes in Le Guide Hachette des Vins (a French wine buying guide):
CHARLES HEIDSIECK Blanc de blancs Blanc des millenaires 2006 Champagne
Champagne CHARLES LEPRINCE 2006
MOET ET CHANDON Champagne Brut Imperial Champagne
BONNAIRE Blanc de blancs Ver sacrum Champagne
SOUTIRAN Collection Privee Gd Cru Champagne
ALFRED GRATIEN 2004, Champagne
DELAMOTTE Blanc de blancs 2008 Champagne
GOSSET Grande Reserve Champagne
TAITTINGER Blanc de blancs Comtes de Champagne 2006 Champagne
VEUVE CLICQUOT La Grande Dame 2008 Champagne
KRUG Grande cuvee 168e edition Champagne
PO ROGER Sir Winston Churchill 2000 Champagne * Champagne
Fun Information about Champagne
Here’s the top 10 most interesting and entertaining champagne facts that you didn’t know about.
The Champagne wine region produces around 300 million champagne bottles each year.
More than 250 km (155 miles) of champagne cellars are located under Reims the capital city in the Champagne region. They hold more than 200 million champagne bottles.
In Epernay in France, in Epernay, the Avenue de Champagne is one of the most expensive avenues worldwide because it is home to millions champagne bottles kept in the cellars beneath it.
The stunning chalk cellars that champagne bottles of Duperrey are stored in are officially recognised by UNESCO as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
France has the biggest market for champagne (of of course!). It is believed that the French drink 162.5 million bottles of champagne each year, which is roughly 52 percent of all world’s manufacturing of champagne. France follows by Belgium, Switzerland, and the UK.
33 percent of all champagne sales are sold between November and the month of December.
A bottle of champagne that is 7500ml has around 49 million champagne bubbles. A standard-sized glass produces 30 bubbles each second.
The pressure inside the champagne bottle is around three times that of automobile tires.
If the champagne cork is opened, it could reach speeds of 40 kilometers per hour.
In the absence of control over this cork you run the risk of getting injured. This is among the most frequent home accidents that happen in France!
The champagne that you drink first contains the highest amount of bubbles, which means the first glass will make you feel drunk in the quickest time. The next glass you pour from the glass will have more power than any glass following.
For a long period, champagne was viewed as risky due to its tendency to explode, which is why the name ‘Devil’s Wine’. At the turn of the century champagne makers wore steel masts to guard their faces while handling bottles. Later stronger glass bottles and clasp closures made of metal helped to make the bottles more durable.
If you’re drinking a good champagne and you can detect the “collerette. It refers to the bubbles that travel across down the side of the glass.
Your champagne will remain more bubbly in a flute glass as compared to the coupe glass.
Prior to modern flutes were invented, the ‘coupe’ glass was the preferred glass to drink champagne. This glass is believed to have been made by Marie-Antoinette’s left breast.
One of the oddest uses for champagne? In the 19th century, the elite used champagne to polish their shoes!
Because of its location in northeast France It is no surprise that the Champagne region was located in the direct path of the advance of Germans throughout the World Wars. Instead of fleeing, a lot of inhabitants sought refuge under the towns within the tunnel cellars that were dug by the Romans with the intention of taking precious champagne bottles with them.
Winston Churchill was one of the largest Champagne drinkers in history. Between 1908 to 1965, he was drinking approximately 42,000 bottles. Pol Roger even made him one-pint bottles that was given to him each day at exactly 11 am.
“Remember gentlemen that it’s not only France we’re fighting for It’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill
Marilyn Monroe took a bath in champagne. It required 350 bottles to fill the tub.