Champagne & Sparkling Wine Tips : A Brief History of Champagne


Welcome again to Expert Village. This is Chuck
Byers and we are going to be talking about the history of champagne or sparkling wine.
Now, you were telling me something very interesting a while back here about the history of the
making of sparkling wine. Now I never knew, never knew, that sparkling wine was made as
early as the Roman times (accidentally, mind you, but….). Can you tell us something about
that? Well, the Roman Sparkling wine was known to the Romans when they started building,
as a matter of fact, they started building the floors of their cellars, sloping them
in the middle just to collect all the wine that was overflowing by the amphora’s (that
was the wine containers; what they were called). And after, the second fermentation would start,
because the first fermentation was intended. So this wine would start fermenting again,
was overflowing and pouring out of the bottles. So the first document that we have that testified
that the sparkling wine was known in Europe is in the sixteenth century. And since then,
you take another couple hundred years, until 1670 when Dom Pérignon, the very famous viticulturist
and wine maker, a very skilled wine maker, started to understand what fermentation. So
what really did the second fermentation? Why did these bottles start to ferment? So what
they did was just start studying about it; focus their attention on it. And they understood
that it was possible to capture the CO2, the gas from the secondary fermentation in the
bottle if they could seal the bottle properly. They started with these corks and producing
what was the first sparkling wine. Since then, the sparkling wine started spreading all around
Europe. They start producing it in Germany. They called it a Sec; a Cava in Spain. And
what was amazing with this winery procedure is that it started being made in different
ways and with a different kind of grapes. From the Pinot Noir, the Chardonnay, the Pinot
Meunier and a little bit of Pinot Blanc we have the Champagne blend. Or we can have the
Trebbiano and the Sutan in Italy or the Muscat in Italy, as well. Or they have the Müller-Thurgau
in Vienna and Germany. We have also red sparkling wines from around the world. So it is very
interesting to see how from a lot of years ago, this beverage, this wine started to be
so famous and so well accepted from everybody.

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