‘I drink my champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone.
When I have company I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink when I am,
Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.’ – Lily Bollinger
My trip to Champagne passed by far too quickly but I loved visiting the cellars, tasting the wine and admiring the beautiful landscape of Reims and Epernay. I learnt so much about how champagne is produced, how to taste it properly and tried some perfect food pairings. I just wanted to share a few more of the interesting things that I learnt and discovered since when I was researching my blog posts about Mumm and Perrier-Jouët.
1. A bottle of champagne contains around 49 million bubbles, and the smaller the bubbles the better the quality.
2. Something to aspire to – Marilyn Monroe once took a bath in champagne; 350 bottles of the stuff! A bit of a waste I think, that amount of champagne could have been a great party!
3. The first brut or dry champagne was invented by the house of Perrier-Jouët 1876. The word ‘brut’ means brutal referring to the more bitter taste of the bubbly and the brut was actually created for the British tastes.
4. Resident expert at Maison Mumm, Didier Mariotti told us that champagne can taste different depending on the glass that it is drunk from. Personally I love the look of an elegant coupe glass which was rumoured to be modelled on the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breast.
5. It is popularly believed that French Benedictine Monk Dom Perignon created champagne, this is actually a myth but the namesake of the now famous super luxury champagne played an important role in refining the production and quality of the champagne.
6. L’Avenue de Champagne in Epernay is home to famous champagne houses such as Moët and Chandon, Veuve Cliquot and Perrier Jouët. The famous road is said to be the world’s most expensive streets, and I could see why when I saw the millions of bottles of bubbly stored underground.
7. Sabrage is a technique for opening a bottle using a saber, and is often done at ceremonial occasions. We found out that a champagne bottle can also be opened using a glass. One of the bloggers on the trip was able to do this just by holding the bottle at the right angle and applying the glass to the right place sending the top of the bottle flying out of the window.
8. We served Laurent-Perrier at our wedding – partly because it’s our favourite champagne and partly because it is one of the only kosher champagnes. This means that the champagne has been produced under the religious laws of Judaism and it has the kosher seal of approval. Champage Rosé Laurent-Perrier is the world’s most expensive kosher champagne. 9. Winston Chruchill famously proclaimed that the four essentials in life were ‘hot baths, cold champagne, new peas and old brandy.’ Every morning at 11am the great British prime minister had a glass of Pol Roger poured for him and apparently he drank 42,000 bottles in his lifetime.
10. Veuve Cliquot is one of the most innovative champagne brands; the house revolutionised the extraction of yeast and invented the riddling method I described in my trip to Mumm. It was also the first champagne house to produce rosé by adding red wine during the production process.