As they say, “every champagne is sparkling wine, yet not every sparkling wine is champagne.” “Why?” you must have asked yourself. What’s the difference between the two? Isn’t champagne just a fancy name for sparkling wine?
Well, you are wrong there: while sparkling wine is a kind of that which holds a significant level of carbon dioxide in it and can be divided into many different types, such as prosecco (the Italian version), for example. A Champagne is a type of sparkling wine that can only be produced in the French region of champagne.
Very specific, right? And it doesn’t stop there: you must still be wondering why the prices are so much higher, and therefore generally consumed only on special occasions. There happen to be three factors that will determine the price of a champagne, and those are how much labor and how many people were involved in its production, how valuable is the land on which the grapes grew, and how many bottles are there of the edition in question: some brands like Dom Perignon are known for making very exclusive editions with sometimes only ten bottles (we can probably guess already how much that’s going to cost). Wants to know how that tastes like? Then why not have champagne crates delivered to you in no time at all?
Its origins go back to before the French Revolution when the churches owned vineyards, and the monks produced wine to be used in Christian ceremonies. Used in things such as masses, weddings, baptisms, and coronations (religion and monarchy were still pretty much together back then). French kings are known to drink a sip of champagne right after the moment of their coronation to celebrate, and it was served in the festivities later as well.
But how was champagne created? Well, it’s a very simple process, really: Benedictine monks living in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, in the French region of champagne, at some point started bottling the wine they produced before its initial fermentation had ended, which caused the wine to have a bubbly appearance.
Years later, the process would be tested and documented by British scientist Christopher Merret. Today it is known, mainly by Merret’s writings, that 19th-century champagne was much sweetener than it is today, especially because it was common to add a little bit of sugar to it after the first fermentation process had ended.
Now some curious facts about champagne that you probably don’t know: the most expensive bottle of champagne in the world cost around two million dollars and has a diamond ingrained in the outside of the bottle.
Oh, and remember the Hollywood diva Marilyn Monroe? Well, she once bathed herself in champagne! (it took around 350 bottles to fill the tub, according to former staff). Also, Queen Victoria and her son Edward VII loved champagne, and their favorite was Joseph Perrier, which you can find on the “International Wine of the Month Club” for a hundred dollars (or a little bit more).