Champange > the noble one

Posted On December 29, 2006

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Or else “drinking the stars…” as alleged by its spiritual father Brother Dom Perignon. Reference of course to the world famous, most noble of all carbonated wines, Champagne!

The Festive Season is filled with Celebration Days, or else Champagne Days, and it is no coincidence that a “cork is popped” every time we want to announce a joyous occasion. Happy occasions? Not so much for almighty Napoleon, a personal friend of Jean-Remy Moet. Forgetting to renew his order of the noble wine, somewhere around 1814, cost him, what else, his defeat in Waterloo!

If one wishes to hear the “duchess sigh”, one needs to abandon the brute habit of crudely ejecting the cork, after having shaken her violently, making a horrendous noise.

This is better understood when one observes (in awe, no doubt) the process of “swording” a champagne bottle, the ritual of “sabrage du Champange” never before has “decapitation” been so elegant!

Her homeland is France and her natural abode is the northernmost vineyard,  around Reims,  150 km northeast of Paris. There, stretch 345.000 acres of vineyards in a chalky ground with limestone that combined with frost and low temperatures bless her with unique exquisiteness.

Responsible for the creation of the first carbonated wine, is Benedict Monk Dom Pérignon who experienced a rather unpleasant event. In the beginning of the 18th century, in one of the dark cellars of Hautviller, temperatures fell so low that fermentation was interrupted, it continued inside the bottle. Pressure caused the “eruption” of the cork and  voila, the first champagne!

There are more than 250.000.000 ticklish bubbles in every bottle of 750ml, exactly due to CO2.

Since then, the noble white Chardonnay offers its finesse, the red Pinot noir adds to the body and the Pinot menieur ensures quantity!

Her creation is so complex, that it actually explains the high price!  It involves double fermentation, a classical white wine processing and a second one in the bottle. The secret of every great house, however, is in the “brew”, the chef de caves are the specialised tasters who achieve this.

There are various great house and famous are the “widows” that rule them, like Cliquot, Posardin, Lily Bollinger, Οrly Roederer as well as the widow of Nonancout that leads the famous house of Laurent Perrier.

Other great houses are: Krug, Moët et Chandon, Mumm, Heidsieck, Deutz, Taittinger, Pol Roger. Which ever one you choose, search insistently for the year 1990, the best in this decade and enjoy in luxury.