orange and champagne drink

orange and champagne drink

orange and champagne drink

Who invented the magical bubbles?

Champagne is a symbol of the holiday and “special occasions”, a satellite of important dates, successful deals and special moments. The word itself is so saturated with associations that it has become a household name. Most people (not only in Russia) are used to calling any sparkling wine champagne. In the meantime, “champagne” is the name of an exceptional and unique drink born by the land and winemakers of Champagne, protected by European laws and French traditions.

Champagne Tasting

Dom Perignon


What exactly makes champagne a special wine – the standard among sparkling ones? Being first is not a pledge of exclusivity. (And was the first sparkling champagne? – about it below) Today many great sparkling wines are made all over the world. Bubbles – this is important, but they will not surprise anyone. And the champagne is surprising.

So what’s the secret? Let’s figure it out.

“There is no other such focus.

orange and champagne drink

orange and champagne drink

The wine that is unprocessed and the most sour in all of France is taken, and, like a wizard’s hat, the most luxurious of all creations in the world goes to wine. That’s why I’m addicted to champagne again. “

(Oz Clark)

orange and champagne drink

The history of the “invention” of champagne

No matter how attractive the beautiful stories of geniuses and visionaries are, the historical truth is prosaic: no one invented champagne. It appeared itself, because it simply could not appear. Moreover: it appeared rather in spite of the efforts of champagne winemakers (including the legendary monk Pierre Perignon, which is described below). And only when the originality and unique qualities of this wine became apparent, winemakers took his side and, as a result, brought its production to perfection.

The fact is that Champagne is the most northern region on the winemaking map of France. For a long time, he competed with Burgundy in the production of red wines from Pinot Noir and fought for the status of the supplier of his Majesty the King of France. The quiet (not sparkling) white wine produced in Champagne sometimes did not have time to completely ferment before the onset of cold weather. The fact that their wine was still “not ready”, and yeast fell asleep in it, the champagne winemakers did not suspect. Therefore, when with the onset of spring, the temperature in their cellars rose, and the awakened yeast continued to do so, emitting carbon dioxide — this was an inexplicable phenomenon of nature for everyone.

The champagne reviving in the spring knocked out corks from bottles, and quite often the eye of the winemaker. French bottles did not differ in strength, and if the cork was held tightly in the bottle, the pressure smashed the bottle itself, sometimes causing a chain reaction in the cellar and carrying the ruin to its owner.

For all these “charms”, white champagne was called “devilish wine” (le vin du diable). They tried to fight this “miracle”, they tried to solve it with the sole purpose of getting rid of this scourge.

Meanwhile in Lima

Meanwhile, in the south of France – in the commune of Limoux (the wine-growing region of Languedoc), sparkling wine from the local white variety Mouzac (Mauzac) was already produced using the well-developed “rural method” (methode rurale), without hysterics.

The first written mention of sparkling wine “blanket” from Lima (“blanquette” – literally “little white”) is found in the papers of Saint-Hilaire Abbey (Saint-Hilaire) in 1531 – which is much longer than the formation of sparkling champagne.

In the memoirs of Abbot Godino, a canon of the Reims Cathedral (1718), it is said that lightly colored wines, almost white, saturated with gas, appeared in Champagne since about 1668.

Thus, the wine from Lima can actually be considered the first white sparkling French wine.

This wine is still produced from the local variety Muzak – and is sold under its historical name Blanquette de Limoux (Blanket de Limou). Other sparkling drinks are also made there: Cremant de Limoux (Cremant de Limoux) is a wine made according to the now traditional (champagne) method of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc; and Blanket Method Ansestral (Blanquette methode ancestrale) – i.e. Blanket by the “method of ancestors” – according to the technology used in the production of those very first sparkling wines of France. An inquisitive consumer can find all these wines on the shelves of wine boutiques and supermarkets.

Meanwhile in England

Champagne and Caviar: Love in French

When Europeans recognized black caviar as a delicacy (and it happened at the beginning of the last century, of course, Champagne became the “legitimate” companion of black caviar. Since then, champagne and black caviar are perceived as a classic wine-gastronomic union and a symbol of luxury. Speaking of ideal compatibility wines with food in general, two most successful options can be noted: a) champagne and food are ideally combined in their characteristics and seem to melt into each other; b) everything works in contrast, i.e. characteristics are opposite, but complement each other perfectly. Again, a classic example is black caviar. For its fatty and brackish taste, champagne adds acid and freshness. A spoon of caviar – a sip of Krug, another of caviar – more champagne … Endless pleasure: you take one sip with bubbles – and your palate is again ready to accept the caviar. To achieve the perfect balance of balance between champagne and caviar, full-bodied wine should be served, which maintains its salty taste. Only the best wines will be an ideal partner of caviar: Cuvee Dom Perignon (Moet & Chandon), La Grande Dame (Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin), Krug Grande Cuvee, Cristal (Louis Roederer), Sir Winston Churchill (Pol Roger), Grand Siecle (Laurent- Perrier), Clos de Goisses (Philopponnat) and other special cuves and millezyme.

While champagne winemakers fought with demonic bubbles, some of the wines they produced floated to England. Since the export wine left France before the onset of warm days, it fell to the English in a quiet state. Like in their homeland, the French from Champagne sold the English a still wine, having no intention of making it sparkling. But the laws of physics and biology worked in England no worse than in France — and the same metamorphosis occurred with brought champagne.

But.

The English Channel cut the wine in barrels and was already bottled in England in local production. And the local bottles were much stronger than the French ones, since glass-blowers used coal furnaces (and not wood-burning ones, like in France) and a different composition of glass. In addition, thanks to the well-established trade with Portugal, the British widely used high-quality natural cork; in France of those times, wooden plugs wrapped with a rag were often the cork. The awakened yeast did their work, and the well-corked strong bottles reliably kept this fun under control.

Champagne was allowed to be transported exclusively in barrels until 1728, when by a decree of Louis XV the ban on the export of wine in bottles was lifted.

Since the devil did not ruin the English cellars, the British appreciated the merits of sparkling wines and tried to figure out how this goes. But unlike the French – in order to be able to repeat it.

And they succeeded.

In 1662, the British physicist Christopher Merret presented to the British Royal Society an eight-page treatise “Some Observations Regarding Wine Serving”. Among others, the document contained the chapter “How to make sparkling sparkling wine” by secondary fermentation, which revealed the “devil’s secret” – the role of sugar and yeast in the formation of carbon dioxide. The discovery of an Englishman was made 20 years earlier than the “invention” of champagne in France. (Tom Stevenson “Encyclopedia of Champagne”)

So in England, the production of real sparkling champagne was set up for the first time: about half a century before the conscious production of sparkling wines was established in Champagne, but more than 100 years after mastering the production of sparkling wines by the “rural method” in the French commune of Lim.

What about Dom Perignon?

Benedictine monk house Pierre Perignon (dom – from the Latin dominus, a form of respectful address to the dignitaries) was in charge of the storerooms with food and the wine cellar of the Abbey Ovilier (Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers) in Champagne, as well as the process of producing the Abbe wine. And in this position, he certainly was very zealous.

Close servants who knew him described him as a “perfectionist.” However, the ideal wine, according to Perignon, was a quiet Pinot Noir wine. It, unlike white wine varieties, was less inclined to show an absurd nature in the spring: to spoil the bottles and fill the cellar with foam. The sparkling spirit of the wine clearly related to its vices, and the house of Perignon was determined to overcome it.

In his quest for an ideal wine, the house Perignon brought a lot of useful and significant innovations in the production of quiet white champagne. For example, he noted a special role and elevated assembling to the rank of art – mixing wines from different vineyards, rightly believing that the required and constant quality is difficult to achieve without resorting to this technique in conditions of Champagne’s extreme climate for winemaking. He also introduced the practice of separating the wort from different stages of pressing: from the very first juice, flowing by gravity under the weight of the grapes, to the last drops from under the press. Spinning “tail” was not used at all in the production of wine in the entrusted house of Perignon Abbey. Under his leadership, the creation of white quiet champagne from red Pinot Noir — what is called Blanc de noir — has reached a very high level.

Thus, the merits of the house of Perignon to the champagne winemaking were appreciated by his contemporaries and are beyond doubt now. However, they are not directly related to the formation of sparkling champagne wine.

Champagne and Caviar: Love in French

When Europeans recognized black caviar as a delicacy (and it happened at the beginning of the last century, of course, Champagne became the “legitimate” companion of black caviar. Since then, champagne and black caviar are perceived as a classic wine-gastronomic union and a symbol of luxury. Speaking of ideal compatibility wines with food in general, two most successful options can be noted: a) champagne and food are ideally combined in their characteristics and seem to melt into each other; b) everything works in contrast, i.e. characteristics are opposite, but complement each other perfectly. Again, a classic example is black caviar. For its fatty and brackish taste, champagne adds acid and freshness. A spoon of caviar – a sip of Krug, another of caviar – more champagne … Endless pleasure: you take one sip with bubbles – and your palate is again ready to accept the caviar. To achieve the perfect balance of balance between champagne and caviar, full-bodied wine should be served, which maintains its salty taste. Only the best wines will be an ideal partner of caviar: Cuvee Dom Perignon (Moet & Chandon), La Grande Dame (Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin), Krug Grande Cuvee, Cristal (Louis Roederer), Sir Winston Churchill (Pol Roger), Grand Siecle (Laurent- Perrier), Clos de Goisses (Philopponnat) and other special cuves and millezyme.

orange and champagne drink

orange and champagne drink

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