Toasting My Love for Champagne
I love Champagne because...
‘POP’ goes the weasel. The only difference is that instead of a cute little furry creature what gushes out is rich creamy froth that soon fills the air with a luxurious sweetness. With its contagious nature, it triggers the revelry for the evening and signals the beginning of good times. Such is the magical effect of champagne that within a matter of minutes, hardly anyone in the room will have escaped its bubbly trance and soon the party is well on its way.
‘Clink’ is what follows the pop and it is indicative of a toast that heralds a new beginning, whether it is the New Year or a wedding anniversary. No other beverage comes within even a mile of champagne when it comes to raising a toast and there is something mesmerizing about the infinite streams of bubbles constantly rising to the surface that never fail to hold everyone's attention.
Debbie says it best when she is quotes Bette Davis - "There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne"
Origin of Champagne
How did champagne come into being?
Did you know that the discovery of champagne was more of serendipity than a deliberate attempt? Regalia in north-east France were particularly envious of the red wine production occurring in their immediate neighborhood, namely Burgundy, and left no stone unturned in producing a wine that would be at least comparable, if not better. Having combined three varieties of grapes, namely Pinot Noir, Pinot Meurnier and Chardonnay, and contribution from natural factors, what they came up with was a unique variety of white wine. At some point in the production process, it acquired a distinct sparkle, not to mention a force that caused the cork to explode if not handled properly.Thus was born a beverage which the world knows by the name of ‘Champagne’ and owing to its association with power and luxury, it is traditionally used to grace every important occasion.
Did You Know...
Champagne as a drink is always welcomed and appreciated but there is much more to this bubbly beverage than what meets the eye. Following are some interesting facts pertaining to champagne compiled with the intention of enabling you to savor every sip -
Cecile Bonnefond, the CEO of a company, put it best when he said that while all Champagne is sparkling wine, all sparkling wine is not Champagne. His allusion is of course to the fact that is often pointed out which states that the term 'Champagne' should be strictly used only for the beverage which is produced in the Champagne region of France. The rest, meaning versions that are produced beyond the geographical boundaries of this region and country, should simply be referred to as sparkling wine.
Any standard bottle of champagne contains about 49 million bubbles and since quite a few of these are likely to be transferred into your flute, it would help to learn where they came from. Champagne bubbles are formed during the second stage of the fermentation process when yeast and sugar are added to the broth. Their reaction results in the formation of carbon di oxide which in turn forms millions of bubbles, thus granting the beverage its mesmerizing appearance.
In Champagne jargon, 'vintage' does not necessarily mean really old and 'non-vintage' definitely does not imply lack of quality. Unlike wine, 'vintage' in terms of champagne refers to production from harvest of one particular year and 'non-vintage' is an indication of a delightful fruity blend. Likewise, the terms brut, extra brut, extra dry, dry, demi sec and sec are allusions to the sweetness of the content within the bottle wherein extra dry is the least sweet.
What about the 'POP' made by the champagne bottle? This is attributed to the pressure within the champagne bottle which has been measured to be 90 pounds for every square inch, meaning thrice as much as in a bus or automobile tire. So every time you open a bottle of champagne, you release the high pressure within the bottle, thus causing the cork to literally fly out at a speed of 40 miles/hour. In fact, the longest flight ever taken by a champagne cork is recorded at 177 feet. Fun though it is to prise open a bottle of champagne, it should be done with extreme care and caution so as not to injure anyone in the process.
As per etiquettes, champagne should be served either in a flute or a coupe. While both defy each other in terms of shape with the flute being tall and narrow and the coupe being short and wide, each is elegant in its own way and complements the exquisite nature of the beverage in every possible way. However, if it is the bubbles that you value the most, then the flute is a better option since it can preserve the effervescence for longer duration. That said, the bubbles also have a tendency to seep into your bloodstream and cause a headache which implies that you must always sip champagne as opposed to gulping it down and savor each sip in your mouth prior to swallowing it outright.
Rather than buy several bottles of champagne, you have the option of buying a single large-size bottle to cater for your party requirement. Known as 'Melchizedek', it is the largest that a champagne bottle can get with a capacity of 30 liters which is equivalent of 40 bottles of standard size.
So next time you pop open a cork to the delight of your guests, cognizance of these snippets is sure to transform you into a knowledgeable champagne lover who understands the logic underlying every aspect of the beverage and hence is able to appreciate it to the fullest.