Life has a great many virtues, of which our favorite bubbles are one of them. Champagne is perhaps the most famous wine in the world, and it serves to almost any food and accompanies every New Year’s Eve. Curious to find out where your bubbles originate, how they are processed or which grapes are used to make the finest champagne. Look no further, keep reading!
The Champagne History
Everyone is aware of the prestige, that surrounds champagne. But almost none are aware of the reason why or where it originates. If we look back into the champagne history before both the second and first world war, all the way back into early viniculture the presence of bubbles in the wine was a sign of continued fermentation – an unpredictable wine gone bad, and an even worse wine practice.
In these early days’ champagne celebrated very few parties and never attended any royal festive occasions. But even though champagne had its bad reputation, a handful of wine makers intentionally produced the sparkling wine anyway. In the 16th century these winemakers slowly began exporting the wine to Britain, where the respect for champagne grew.
The champagne production still had some bumps, one of which the famous champagne producer Widow Clicqout perfected. During production the in-bottle fermentation clouded the champagne with dead yeast, bringing a bad taste to the champagne. Clicqout invented and perfected the process known as remuage a process to extract the yeast. Clicqout turned the bottles’ neck upside down, froze the neck and extracted the frozen neck of dead yeast, thereby cleaning the champagne while keeping the precious bubbles with a refined taste. Champagne was now better than ever before, and the amount of champagne bottles sold has gone wildly up since it took off back in the days.
Sources estimate that approximately 300 million bottles of champagne were sold in the year of 2015. All this champagne is made from grapes grown in a distinctive part of France, the Champagne region. This region of small 34.000 hectares received the sole right to the champagne brand once the law of 1927 was passed. The law of 1927 defined the champagne production zone and defined restrictions when making champagne. The champagne production is located just 150 kilometers east of Paris and is divided into four geographical areas.
- Marne (66% of planted area)
- Aube (23%)
- Aisne (10%)
- Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne.
They furthermore hold the four most popular growing areas.
- Montagne de Reims
- Vallée de la Marne
- Côte des Blancs
- Côte des Bar
Together these areas form the Champagne region. The reason why the champagne region has been declared the only place in the world to make champagne, is due to the geographical location concerning the latitude and the changing climate, being both influenced by the continental climate as well as the oceanic climate. The geographical location means that the grapes grow in the perfect soil composition as well as getting the right amount of sunlight and hard winters. The oceanic influence ensures heavy rainfall. All these factors give the three most commonly used champagne grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier) their distinctive taste reserved for every special champagne moment.