10 Apr 2020 • Delicious dining
The clean pop of a cork. An effervescent gush of fizz filling a glass flute. Whether it’s a celebration or sophisticated aperitif, Champagne is a consistent crowd-pleaser. The bars and restaurants in Red Carnation Hotels are well-stocked with our house Champagne, Lanson, beloved for its classic Brut. Here, we take a closer look at the world’s most prestigious sparkling wine with a round-up of fascinating Champagne facts.
Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk, fought hard to keep out the bubbles that ruined so much of the wine in the monastery cellar. Despite his best efforts, the bubbles continued to form. One day, he decided to sample the doomed fermentation… et voilà, Champagne was born.
The Champenois. Beneath the area’s official 34,000 hectares of vineyards, there are 1.3 billion bottles currently ageing in its cellars.
It’s a fact that Champagne is the most labour-intensive wine to produce. It undergoes two fermentations; one in the barrel, and one in the bottle. It’s in the second fermentation that the bubbles form over a minimum of two weeks. The bottle is then gradually twisted and inverted, traditionally by hand, over a month, allowing the sediment to settle at the cap. It’s then aged for at least 15 months before the cap and sediment are removed and the bottle is finally corked.
In the early days, the bottles were known to spontaneously pop their corks if they contained too much sugar. Helmets worn in Champagne cellars became de rigueur and the drink was dubbed ‘devil’s wine’.