If there is one wine that has achieved international acclaim beyond practically any other, it would have to be Champagne. This most stunning of sparkling whites is closely regulated and it’s only real competition, at least in terms of popularity, is Italy’s Prosecco.
It is a wine that is served in many ways, be it as an aperitif before a large meal or as a celebratory drink during weddings, birthdays and other big events. In short, Champagne is in with a shout of being classed as the most famous, and perhaps highest-quality, type of wine that is available on the modern industry.
Even so, there are still plenty of things about this wine that many people don’t know about. Here we present just a few of the fun facts that make Champagne one of the more interesting wines around.
The common myth goes that it was Dom Pérignon who discovered the process for creating sparkling wines, which gave rise to the birth of Champagne in the process. One of the most famous versions of the wine actually bears his name in deference to this oft-repeated fact. However, records show that sparkling wine had existed for a number of years before Pérignon perfected it. Even more interestingly, he was looking for a way to eliminate the bubbles from the wines he was producing, which instead resulting in him learning how to tame them and thus create a product that was different from most wines available at that time.
It is no secret that celebrities tend to be big fans of Champagne. After all, it is the perfect drink to be served at high-class events and major parties. However, few can rival the love that Marilyn Monroe has for the wine, at least if her biographer is to be believed. It is widely-believed to be true that Monroe took at least one bath in Champagne. Her biographer claims that it took 350 bottles to fill, which sounds like a true waste of great wine to us.
The English and Brut
Of course, there are a number of different varieties of Champagne, with Brut perhaps being amongst the most popular of them all. That is something that the English can take some credit for. When Madame Pommery began exporting wine to the country in the late-19th century, she quickly found that the English had a preference for the dry Champagne that would eventually become known as Brut. Prior to this, Champagnes tended to be fairly sweet and syrupy. Without the English influence, we may never have seen the rise of Brut at all.
Speaking of the English, they weren’t always the best when it came to appreciating the many qualities that Champagne has to offer. In fact, in the 19th century it became something of a common practice for those in high English society to have their boots polished with Champagne. We can’t really speak to its effectiveness, but we’d rather people drank it, rather than waste it on their feet.
The Secret To Buying Clever
Anybody who is familiar with Champagne will know that it maintains its quality best when its exposure to light has been limited. This is something that you should keep in mind whenever you visit a wine shop. If a vintage catches your eye, ask the proprietor of the shop to fetch you a bottle out of storage. The ones stored in the front of the shop will most likely have been exposed to light, which degrades their quality somewhat. If you want the best, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
So Many Bubbles
Ever wondered how many bubbles are in the average bottle of Champagne? Apparently somebody has and the research has been put in to find out The result is that there are approximately 49 million bubbles in the average 750ml bottle of Champagne. That’s almost the entire population of England in pure numbers. Even more interestingly, a glass of Champagne will emit 30 bubbles every single second. One has to wonder how many bubbles the untamed sparkling whites that were first created by Dom Pérignon emitted.
A lot of people will tell you that the best way to store Champagne is to keep it chilled. While this is certainly true when serving it, which is why so many restaurants will place bottles of Champagne in ice buckets, it actually isn’t the case when storing it. Refrigerating champagne will result in the cork drying and the escape of the carbon that generates the bubbles. It can also result in other flavours tainting the wine, as the dried cork become less efficient in keeping them out. Instead, place the bottle in a cellar or closet and make sure it’s lying down. Do what you can to keep the cork damp to prevent any issues.
There is a lot of pressure being generated in the average bottle of Champagne. In fact, researchers claim that there is as much as 90 pounds of pressure every square inch, which is why it is so easy to send a Champagne cork flying into the air if you wanted to. For a little bit of clarity, this 90 pounds translates to about three times the amount of pressure that can be found per square inch in a car tyre.
The Oldest Bottle
You may be under the assumption that the oldest bottle of Champagne in the world has been sitting in some collector’s wine cellar for decades. It’s an easy assumption to make, but it is also an incorrect one. The oldest bottle of Champagne in the world has actually discovered as recently as 2010 in the Baltic Sea. It was found alongside a collection of other Champagnes that had been aged in almost perfect conditions. The wine in question is a Veuve Clicquot that is an astonishing 170 years old. Despite spending so much time underwater, experts believe that the flavour of the wine went uncontaminated and it eventually sold at auction for a world-record $37,720. We wonder of the lucky buyer has actually sampled the bottle.