Champagne for everyone!
Very soon the New Year, and therefore, the traditional holiday drink is poured into glasses and give us a cheerful mood… and gases. But let’s not talk about the consequences. Today we delve into history and learn how the tradition originated. Get more convenient.
The name «champagne» originates, as you probably know, in the champagne region in France. Even with the III century, the region began its grape operation, which after 7 centuries, turned into wine. In the X century the king of France, Guko Capet became the founder of the tradition to drink wine from champagne in celebration of the coronation. Then champagne was producing rose wines from Pinot Noir, but they could not match with red wines from neighbouring Burgundy. Due to the Northern location of the champagne region, the grapes do not have time to fully ripen, which had a high acidity and, as a consequence, a low level of sugar content. This caused difficulties in the production of wine, and winemakers with the onset of winter was faced with another problem. Because of the difference in temperature and rapid cooling the fermentation process in the winter stayed in yeast and bacteria fall asleep until spring, when with the onset of heat advancing again the fermentation process. Abundant release of carbon dioxide caused explosions of bottles and Bedlam in the wine cellars. In bottles, has stood the test pressure, the wine showed «aerated» wine, but then it was considered a disadvantage. Until the seventeenth century they were desperately trying to rid their wine of bubbles, but truly significant role in the origin of champagne was played by the monk Dom Pierre Perignon.
The opinions of historians diverge: someone thinks that Pierre tried to get rid of the bubbles, someone, on the contrary, said that the bubbly drink he was very fond. However, Dom Perignon improved the production technology, which until his death remained a secret, and started using the bottle of thick English glass and strengthen the tube by a rope. Such «security measures» helped the bottles remain intact. Then appeared the name of this drink – sparkling wine from champagne turned into «champagne». Champagne began to gain popularity in other countries and became the drink of high society. There were «national standard» production, which was carefully watched, but still more than one third of bottles of champagne did not live up to the Royal tables and exploded. From the book of Shantala «Traite de 1’art de faire le vin» found out the secret of production of the sugar liquor, or rather, solution of tartaric sucrose, and in the XIX century the production was adjusted.
The advent of champagne in our country we are obliged winemaker Philippe Clicquot, sent a few bottles «for wine». Because of the French revolution and the war of 1812 a full supply of champagne to Russia began only in 1814. Up to this point winery «Clicquot» passed into the hands of «the widow Clicquot», the Barbe – Nicole Clicquot – Ponsardin. In those years the house of «Veuve Clicquot» annually exported about 100,000 bottles, but having supplies to Russia, where it was impossible to imagine social evening without wine, sold only in Russia bottles was increased to 252 450 per 1825. The next 100 years Russia was able to hold second place for the consumption of champagne.
Home «Veuve Clicquot», in addition to a wonderful champagne, became famous for the fact that the first learned how to get rid of the sediment at the bottom of the bottles. Previously, winemakers tried to get rid of it in different ways, but when pouring the drink lost the «playfulness». The method of the widow of Clicquot was a collection of sediment in the neck of the bottle under pressure and the wine is lost when collecting the sediment, filled with the same wine and cane sugar. This made it possible to regulate blood sugar. Russian consumers prefer the sweetest view (250-300 mg of sugar), followed by Scandinavians, the beverage medium sweetness preferred the Germans and the French, but the British were in awe of dry champagne with a sugar content of only 20-60 grams. Later the passion of the majority has shifted to the dry version of «fizzy» wine, and the bottles began to be marked demi-sec (semi-dry), sec (dry), extra dry (sugar content even lower than in the dry), and brut (sugar) appeared in 1864. In the brut later still added a very small proportion of sugar.
Until the beginning of XX century, the champagne region has faced difficulties. Champagne winemakers began to buy grapes from other regions, which cost half the price. For winegrowers of champagne fell on hard times: they had to sell their grapes for a pittance, the part of the crop lost due to frost, the phylloxera epidemic and floods that destroyed in 1910 almost all the vineyards of champagne. In 1911, when the tenants finally impoverished from all the adventures, staged a rebellion against «artificial» champagne (made in champagne, but from grapes of other regions), they intercepted the delivery of grapes, raiding the wine cellar. However, with the beginning of the First world war the problems of the growers have faded into the background. Part of the population left the champagne, part took refuge in the caves where champagne is stored. The vineyards were wiped off the face of the earth, but when the war was over they waited for good news. The government of France signed a law which became the basis of the system of Control of authenticity of origin, «champagne» began to be called sparkling wine strictly from grapes grown in the wine region of champagne. Growers again planted the grapes, now resistant to phylloxera, but their happiness was short-lived: the closure of Russia to import after the revolution, prohibition in the United States, then the Second world war the production of champagne was once again under attack. Fortunately, after the Second world winemakers and grape growers has not lost optimism. The production was set, the drink’s popularity rose again to heaven, and the world once again enjoyed a delicious taste of sparkling wine.
With the increasing popularity, a growing number of counterparts in Spain there are «coffee» in Germany, «Zecht», Russia was waiting for «boom» with «Soviet champagne». By the way, Soviet champagne appeared in the 30-ies of the XIX century. Imperial famous champagne makers Anton Frolov-bagreyev invented the analogue of champagne «for the people», produced in just 26 days and costs in those days, 40 cents per glass. Soviet champagne became one of the legendary national drink of Russia.
And now few tips for the lovers of champagne:
– champagne before opening should be a temperature of 7-9 degrees;
– champagne is not abruptly cooled, so as not to lose flavor. Never put it in the snow or in the freezer!
– the shots tube and frothing spoil the taste of the drink;
– beware of fakes! To distinguish visually real champagne from the fake is very difficult, so the best way to protect yourself is to buy a drink in a specialty store and a month before the New year, because 90% of the fakes appears two weeks before the holiday.