Who could imagine a world without champagne. More to the point, who would want to?
The world’s most loved wine has played a starring role in some of our happiest moments; weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and countless other happy occasions. It’s also launched boats, become a byword for luxury, been immortalised in song and of course, champagne has played its part in many a great love story, real and fictional.
But why does it have such a unique association with all things happy and fancy? As you might expect, it all started rather a long time ago in France.
Before the revolution finished them off, French Kings were crowned in lavish ceremonies in Reims cathedral in northern France. Champagne to be exact. Of course, no coronation would be complete without an extravagant ceremony and for that you need wine, lots of it, and if you’re serving it to a king, it had better be the good stuff!
Champenois locals, increasingly fed up of their wines being overlooked at coronation banquets in favour of their neighbours in Burgundy decided the time had come to up their wine-making game. Trouble was, the region’s cold climate gave local wine-growers a real headache when it came to making a wine fit for a king.
The unstable climate played havoc with the fermentation process. Incredibly, the bubbles that we’ve come to enjoy so much today horrified the early wine makers of Champagne. The bothersome bubbles caused wine bottles to explode and corks to fly out giving the first, accidentally created champagne, the nickname "the devil's wine" (le vin du diable).
Champagne as we know it today came to life in stages, over the course of years. Contrary to popular belief, Dom Pérignon did not invent champagne although he is considered one of its most important innovators. A century later a widow, Nicole Clicquot, would also become another of champagne’s greatest figures. You might know her better as Veuve Clicquot.
There's a twist to the story though. Did the French invent champagne at all? Should the history of champagne be rewritten?
Is champagne be a British invention? In 1662 a Dr Christopher Merrett presented a paper to the Royal Society describing a method to make sparkling wine. All this 6 years before Dom Pérignon arrived at the Abbey d’Hautvilliers and 30 years before the French claim that Champagne was made!
Whether it was the Brits or the French who cracked the champagne code is hard to know. Whatever the history, one thing’s for sure. Nothing outside of the French region can bear the name champagne.
For those who delight in champagne’s delicious sparkle the question is, how to best enjoy it. The answer today is, of course, easy – with a Coupe Stack!