Champagne is a drink that will always maintain a reputation as one of the greatest wines in the world. Whether used as part of a celebration or simply enjoyed as the great sparkling white wine that it is, there are plenty of reasons why your next champagne buy will lead to plenty of enjoyment.
But what about the drink itself. We all know of it but do we all know about it? Here are a few interesting facts about champagne that help reinforce why it has become so popular in the world at large.
It’s Region Specific
Less knowledgeable wine enthusiasts are liable to label practically any sparkling white wine as champagne, however, this is a mistake.
Real champagne can only be made in the Champagne region, which means that any other sparkling white wine carrying the label that isn’t made in that region is not real champagne. There were some manufacturers in the United States that used to do this, however the practice of falsely naming a wine champagne appears to now be dying out, especially as wine lovers start to become curious about other varieties of sparkling white and don’t instantly associate such drinks with the most famous version.
Dom Perginon Did Not Discover Champagne
It’s one of the most popular brands of champagne in the world and the popular legend goes that Dom Perignon was the man who invented the famous drink. The story goes that when he invented the drink he called for his fellow monks to “come quickly, I am drinking the stars.” While it is certainly a nice story, the validity of it is certainly in question.
The truth is still not quite clear. There are some who believe the English may have had a hand in things, though that is unverified, but when it comes down to it the true answer will lie with however it was that managed to tame the second fermentation process that allows for champagne to be made. At the time most winemakers tried to avoid second fermentation as it was liable to make barrels explode, so whoever took the risk and produced a wine using second fermentation is likely the true discoverer.
Always Serve In A Flute
It may be something of a minor issue for regular people, but true champagne enthusiast insist that the only way to truly enjoy the drink is to have it served in a flute.
There are actually practical reasons for this though. Other types of glasses tend to have a larger surface area, which exposes more of the champagne to air. The more it is exposed, the more the bubbles dissipate, which leads to the champagne losing the texture that makes it so famous in the first place. As mentioned it certainly isn’t a fast rule, but if you really want to experience everything that the drink has to offer it is best to drink it in the preferred manner.
Champagne Should Never Be Frozen
While this advice could go for many different types of wine, there is the occasional temptation to keep the drink extra-chilled in an effort to give it a crisper taste. Unfortunately, if champagne is cooled a little bit too much it quickly begins to lose the flavour and texture that so many love about the drink.
Ideally a bottle of champagne should be kept in a wine cellar or other fairly cool storage area. Always remember that the bottle can be chilled for a while in a bucket of ice and water before serving, but deciding to freeze it entirely will utterly ruin it for you and your guests.
Furthermore, while adding ice cubes to the drink itself is increasingly becoming a trend in many parts of the world, it is not recommended for those who want to really enjoy their wine. As the ice cubes melt they dilute the wine, which again utterly ruins the taste that champagne is loved for.
Older Isn’t Better
Many a wine gets better with age, the idea becoming so popular that many people acquaint their own aging to that of a fine wine. However, in the case of champagne at least, aging the bottle will actually lead to it tasting worse the longer you keep it.
As champagne has already undergone a secondary fermentation process there is little in the way of benefits to keeping it in the bottle for longer than you have to. Ideally, if you buy a bottle of champagne it should be from a fairly recent year and should not be kept too long in the cellar, else it will lose its texture and much of its charm.
Don’t Pop The Cork
Anybody who is a fan of Formula One will be aware of the tradition of popping the cork in a bottle of champagne and spraying the contents over everybody else who has managed to achieve a podium position. It looks like a ton of fun and can be very tempting should you get a bottle of champagne for yourself.
Unfortunately there are many dangers involved with simply popping the cork. The amount of pressure that builds up in the bottle leads to the cork being fired out at a ridiculous speed, which is certainly enough to shatter glass or damage an eye should you be unlucky enough. Always remove the foil and gently twist to ensure that you don’t cause damage in addition to keeping as much of the drink in the bottle as possible, rather than spilling it all over the floor.
So there you have it. That’s just a couple of facts and basic tips about one of the most celebrated drinks in the world, but there are plenty more for those who want to put in a little research. Always remember that, as great as a good bottle of champagne is, it is also worth trying out other sparkling white wines in addition to testing as many vintages of champagne as possible. You never know when you might run across something that perfectly suits your tastes.