Produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France in order to bear its name, Champagne is a sparkling wine that goes through an in-bottle second fermentation effecting carbonation.
The primary grapes used to make this bubbly wine are Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
The Origin of Champagne
The origins are is attributed to the Romans, first to plant vineyards in the area, though wines from the Champagne region were produced possibly even earlier than the 5th century. Churches were the owners of the vineyards and monks produced the wines for use in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The religious connection to wine continued as French kings were anointed in Reims and it was at their coronation festivities that Champagne was served.
Champagne, Luxury and Nobility
Champagne’s association with luxury began at those coronations and henceforth became associated with luxury and power in the 17 through the 19th century. Its leading manufacturers set about creating a history and identity for this special wine and cementing its association with nobility, royalty, rites of passage. The emerging middle class, looking for ways to spend its money on symbols of upward mobility had champagne now to look to satisfy that desire. Dom Perignon, a famous name in champagne, was responsible for many of the advances in the production of this wine including the wire cage that secures the cork to the bottle. Compared to now, champagnes used to be much sweeter. The drier champagnes came about in 1846 when champagne house Perrier-Jouet decided against sweetening that years vintage, the one designated for British import, heralding the designation of Brut Champagne, created in 1876 for the British.
Reining Symbol of Luxury: Champagne
Its rein as a symbol of luxury is unbroken and the people, their passion, their history and their dedication to producing products of exceptional quality bottles of bubbly. Champagne’s rich history and the many houses that create this favorite wine are as intriguing as the wine they produce. To learn about them is a wonderful escape into a world of family history and mystique.