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Many people love wine and champagne so much that they are consumed not only by drinking them, but also by incorporating them into different dishes; desserts and mains. Champagne wine is crucial to popular culture, even rap.
These two may bring joy to all their consumers, but there is more than just the feeling of jubilation wine and champagne bring. A lot of people do not know the difference between them. How are they made? Is champagne wine? Here are the answers to a few questions many people discuss, but do not know.
The Devil’s wine: The Origins of Sparkling Wines
Sparkling wine is basically a carbonated or fizzy wine. In the Middle Ages, some bottles of still wine were noted to be sparkling lightly. The bubbling was treated as a wine defect and was denounced in the winemaking industry. It was called “the Devil’s Wine” because the pressure inside the bottles made often them explode. This chemical chain reaction, affected bottle after bottle, leading to massive losses of profit for winemakers and producers.
It produces large bubbles, creating the bubbling effect easily. However, this process is a poor substitution for the traditional secondary fermentation process.
The British were the first to discover that there was potential in these bubbling wines; they started to study it. Christopher Merret, a British doctor and scientist added sugar to a finished wine, and in doing so, discovered a secondary fermentation process which created what we now know and love as sparkling wine. This happened before the monk Dom Pierre Pérignon began producing the highly esteemed bubbly we know and enjoy today from the Abbey of Hautvillers. Eventually, with the help of these individuals; people realized how the process worked. The results can be purchased in your local wine shop.
The Fermentation of Grapes: How sparkling wine is produced.
Making sparkling wine is not that different to the process of making dry wine. The bubbles you see may come from two different methods. The first method is through fermentation where the wine is put in large tanks. The only difference is the second fermentation phase, in which sugar, and often yeast is added; which gives the wine its “bubbles”.
The second method is through the injection of carbon dioxide to achieve the same sparkling effect without the cost. This is the same method used to create fizz in soda. It produces large bubbles, creating the bubbling effect easily. However, this process is a poor substitution for the traditional secondary fermentation process. Like a soda becoming flat, the bubbles are large and disappear too quickly. Thus, this carbonation process is only used for less expensive wines.
Champagne: More Than Just A Wine.
Winston Churchill in addressing British soldiers during World War II once said “Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” Champagne is a type of sparkling wine. It is named after the region of France where it is produced. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the most common types of grapes that are used to make champagne. This sparkling liquid gold is specifically made using grapes that are grown in the Champagne region. These grapes have an exceptional balance of acidity and sugar, of bite and richness. Because it is made especially in Champagne, where there is a constantly cool climate, and the soil is limestone-chalk, the grapes utilized have a distinct and unique flavor that is impossible to replicate in other areas.
The Law Behind The Grapes: Is Champagne Wine?
A common saying among those that debate the question, is Champagne wine is this, that “all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.” Yes, Champagne is wine. In Europe, there is a law that reserves the term “champagne” for all sparkling wines made only in the Champagne region of France. Basically, the basis of the term champagne is not the content or the production process, but the geographical origin of the wine.
Both Wine and Champagne are an important accompaniment to every exquisite meal. Now that you know more about the differences and history of sparkling wines and champagne; please go ahead and pour a glass. Whether you’ve enjoyed sparkling wine and have never tasted true champagne, or the opposite is true; try different varieties as the regional climates and soils change the composition of the grapes used completely! So pop that bottle at your next event and savor the beautiful flavors history has given us.