The history of Champagne is a fascinating one to learn about. The famous Benedictine monk Dom Perignon (1638-1715) is often credited with discovering how to create it, but he was not actually the first at all. He is responsible for perfecting the technique of making Champagne and even controlling the secondary fermentation process (yeast and sugar are added to bottles of still wine, forming carbon dioxide gas which creates bubbles in the wine.) In the year 1662, it was English scientist and physician Dr. Christopher Merrett that was actually the first to discover and document the process of putting bubbles into wine. The process was primarily created in order to preserve wines on the long trips across sea from France to England or beyond.
It should also be noted that Dom Perignon is considered the father of Champagne because he is the first to perfect the techniques of blending in champagne to create a superior, quality product. He is truly an amazing man for his contributions to the world of Champagne and should be celebrated as such. He was known to proclaim “ Come Quick! I am tasting the stars!”
The Culture of Champagne
Speaking of stars and cultural icons, did you know that Champagne is famous all over the world. You can see it often in operas, classical music, movies, rap stars and even political documents. The very sound of popping a cork will illicit celebratory feelings in nearly everyone. Here are some quick, fun facts:
- Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France as it is a protected name.
- Sparkling wines can be found all over the world but cannot be called Champagne.
- There are over 15,000 growers of Champagne in France; they are spread across 35,000 hectares.
- Champagne can be made from 3 different grapes
- Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir represent the only allowable grapes.
- The number 1 in depth guide on Champagne is by Peter Liem and can be found here.
When to Drink It
Champagne isn’t just for celebrations. Most countries in Europe drink some form of sparkling wine to start their meals or throughout. It is an excellent way to start a meal as it opens up your palate to receive the food or as a palate cleanser. Champagne can be elegant beyond belief and aged for decades! It is truly the nectar of the Gods! Please feel free to read about some value sparkling wines you can find on my website here.
Champagne is also a region you will want to visit at least once in your life to soak up all the history that is found there. Many battles during World War 1 was fought over champagne vineyards which also will add to the historical appreciation when visiting Champagne France.
Eat Drink Explore Tip:
If you like drier style white wines, choose a Zero Dosage Champagne. No extra sugar through sweet wine has been added and is quite dry.