This past week Arkansas had an astonishing group of French Champagne winemakers in our midst. Each showcasing the Champagnes and sparkling wines of their wineries. It was obvious as we shared in the tastings that most of us adore the elusive bubble of a sparkling wine or Champagne. I’ve never actually met a wine drinker who didn’t enjoy the celebratory drink.
Today, sparkling wine is valued for its luxurious and prestigious reputation. It adds a bit of flair to any occasion and popping open a bottle can make a humdrum dinner feel like a special occasion. But this wasn’t always the case. Long before French monk Dom Perignon is thought to have called out, “Brothers, brothers, come quickly, for I am tasting stars!” bubbles were considered a wine fault. Froth belonged to beer but in wine it was considered unrefined.
The idea of a sparkling wine was not new, as it was noted by the Romans, and the Bible refers to “wine that moveth” but it wasn’t until the late 17th century in Champagne, France, when advances were made in glass production and wine stoppers, that bubbly as we know it today became possible.
So, as you savor your next glass of bubbly, keep in mind the long historic journey it took for the celebratory drink to be in your hand.
- NV Chandon Etoile Rose, California (about $32 retail)
- NV Chandon Blanc de Noirs, California (about $15 retail)
- NV Chandon Rose, California (about $15 retail)
- Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, France (abut $49 retail)
- Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial, France (about $50)
- 2006 NV Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage, France (about $64 retail)
- NV Krug Grande Cuvee, France (about $179 retail)
- NV Ruinart Blanc de Blanc, France (about $74)