10 Facts About Champagne Cocktail Anyone? Oh, how I love those disappearing bubbles in a glass of champagne! Champagne is my preferred cocktail. I practically squeal with delight when I meet a fellow bubble drinker. Bubble drinkers are some what of a rare breed. I'm not talking mimosas (champagne cocktail recipes are on this page darling!) I'm talking splitting a bottle of champagne with me undiluted (or maybe two bottles!)
I recently learned quite a bit about champagne and thought I would share with my fellow bubble fans.
10 Facts About Champagne Cocktail Conversation
- Champagne versus Sparkling Wine! Typically people refer to any sparkling wine as champagne. Oh, no, no, no! Champagne is a sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of northeastern France. If it is from any other are of the world, it is not champagne; it is merely sparkling wine. Interestingly the Treaty of Madrid, signed in 1891, established this distinction and rule. It has been upheld by the Treaty of Versailles. Frances legal right to call their wines 'champagne' prevails with help from the European Union. Curious how much alcohol is in champagne? About 12-18 percent by volume, whereas sparkling wines weigh in at much less.
- Birth of Champagne! Champagne begins its bubbly existence like any normal wine. The grapes are harvested, pressed, and allowed to undergo a primary fermentation. The acidic results of this process are then blended and bottled with a bit of yeast and sugar so it can undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This secondary fermentation gives champagne its magical, wonderful bubbles.
- Now meet Madame Clicquot! In 1803, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin married Philippe Clicquot. Philippe founded (the now known Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin) winery in 1772 with the sole purpose of specializing in Champagne (thank you, Philippe!). Unfortunately Madame Clicqout was a widow within two years. Fortunately she was one smart lady who believe in the power of the bubble! She took over her husband’s business renaming it Veuve (meaning widow in French) Clicquot Ponsardin. Veuve Clicquot was born!
- Madame Clicquot, the riddler! Not only was Madame Clicquot quite a savvy business woman, but she invented the process of riddling. It’s a process that removes the yeast from the bottle by slowly tilting and turning the bottles to gather spent yeast into the neck of the bottle. Once there, it can be removed easily. The bottle is recorked. I purchase it and have a fabulous brunch with friends! Thank you, Madame Clicquot!
- Stemware! Champagne glasses sure are pretty, delicate inventions. Oh, I love my fancy champagne glasses. But guess what? Champagne is actually best served in a proper wine glass! Champagnes have complex aromas, texture, and flavors that love some space. So, girlfriends, stop hiding the fact you pour your champagne into a wine glass!
- Perfect Pairing! It can become quite complicated trying to pair wine with your meal, especially meals that involve a variety of different courses. Champagne is one easy gal! She pairs well with everything!
- Pop the Cork! Don't save that bottle of nice champagne you received as a gift for a "special" occasion. Champagnes are designed to be consumed shortly after purchase. Champagne houses have already done the work of aging your champagne: a minimum of 15 months for non-vintage and 3 years for vintage. So, the lesson here is that every day is special and should be celebrated with bubbles!
- Bubble Storage! At home I typically have to enjoy my bubbles solo which leads to the problem of bubble storage. How do I save the leftover bubbles for the next day? Save the bubbles! Metal stoppers can save those precious bubbles for a few days and are worth the investment. In a pinch you can use left over bubbles who have lost their spunk in mimosas (orange juice can mask the lack of spunk) or as a white cooking wine. Yes, sure, you could buy the smaller bottles, but I typically end up with the large bottles.
- Who is Dom Perignon? Pierre Perignon was a Benedictine monk who worked as cellar master at an abbey near Epernay, in Northern France, during the 17th and 18th centuries. 'Dom' is a title of honor given to some Benedictine monks. Dom Perignon did not invent champagne, but he provided some important contributions to the production of champagne. In Perignon's day, champagne production methods were somewhat dangerous and definitely troublesome. If one bottle in a cellar exploded and had its cork shoot out, a chain reaction would result. Perignon helped standardize production methods by regulating temperature in the cellars to avoid these explosions. He also added two safety features: thicker glass bottles that better withstood pressure and a rope snare that helped keep corks in place.
- Brut or Extra Brut, that is the question! What exactly does that mean? A bit of sugar is added to the champagne bottle right before it's corked. Brut and Extra Brut describe exactly how much sugar was added. Extra Brut has less than six grams of sugar per liter added at corking. Brut contains less than 15 grams of sugar per liter added at corking.
Now that you are bubbly smart, enjoy a wine glass full of your favorite champagne immediately! Don't forget to toast Madame Clicquot and Dom Perignon!
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