NSIDE Special “Champagne 101″ By: Doug Allison

Bubbly, bubbly, bubbly. Perhaps you fancy yourself the purist, or maybe you’re a fan of champagne cocktails. In either event, let’s just agree that a little bubbly can soothe the soul. Champagne is heavenly, and this short writing is simply a frolic aimed at enjoying some of the rich history and pleasures of the king of wines (and wine of kings).

“Come quickly – I am tasting the stars!” exclaimed Dom Pierre Perignon, the now famous French monk from Hautvillers (1638 – 1715). These words spoken by the Dom are associated with the story that it was Perignon who “invented” champagne in the mid-to-late 17th century. 1

Yet, another French version taking credit for the invention of champagne traces its origin to as early as 1531 and the monks of Saint-Hilaire. Of course, the English also take credit for the invention of champagne while highlighting their claim that any earlier French encounters with the effervescent wines were not reproducible and then deemed undesirable.

I say the French have won this debate since every connoisseur of champagne concedes that it is not really champagne unless it is produced in the Champagne region of France – and since it is this Champagne region of France (not any region in England) that presently has 980 million bottles of champagne stored below ground.


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