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Ooh LaLa ...La Champagne !!!

"I can’t remember when I had my first glass of champagne but I am pretty sure that was at a New Year’s celebration …so yes of course I fell in love with bubbles from that day.  

In my humble opinion, it's the perfect drink—light, sophisticated, and steeped in an amazing history...

Who put the bubbles in the bottle?” you may ask. Many credit Dom Perignon, a blind Benedictine monk with an exceptional sense of taste and smell. He discovered that tightly drawn corks could retain the naturally expanding gas. Before this innovation, bottles were sealed with tow and olive oil to keep out vinegar bacteria. Champagne, a blend of 10 to 30 wines from a specific region, is crafted so each firm's champagne maintains consistent color, bouquet, and aftertaste year after year.

Madame de Pompadour once said; “Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman as desirable AND beautiful after drinking it.” She was just getting close to the truth.

And then there's Madame Veuve Clicquot, the "Grand Dam e of Champagne." She revolutionized the industry after becoming widowed at 27. Taking over her husband's wine business, she pioneered several techniques that refined champagne production. Her innovative riddling table significantly improved the clarity and quality of champagne, transforming it into the luxurious drink we know today. Madame Clicquot's legacy is a testament to the relentless pursuit of perfection and elegance in every bottle.

Curious about the process behind my favorite drink - the elixir of seduction?

It all starts in late September. Grapes must be perfectly pressed before their skins break. The first pressing, done within two hours, makes the best wine. This juice must be quickly transferred to prevent fermentation before it reaches the cellars, where a little cane sugar is added. The temperature is set between 95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After three weeks, the young wine is clarified through repeated rackings in colder temperatures to precipitate sediments. Following filtration, a second small dose of sugar is added, and the wine is bottled. Over three months, it ferments into alcohol, producing those delicate bubbles. The maturation process takes three to four years.

Removing naturally occurring sediments is fascinating. 'Remueurs'  or stirrers, turn each bottle daily for four months, tilting them downward to collect sediment in the neck. Each remueur handles up to 30,000 bottles a day, using a candle to check clarity. Toward the end, bottles stand almost on their necks with sediment against the cork. Extracting the cork without losing the gas is the most delicate job, performed by a déschargeur, who undergoes a five-year apprenticeship. The cork is swiftly pulled, flying out into a hood, with minimal wine loss. The discharger sniffs the wine to check its condition—all in less than two seconds!

This meticulous process, steeped in tradition and skill, culminates in champagne

 

—the epitome of luxury, celebration, and sensory delight. From its humble beginnings in the Champagne region to its status as a global symbol of refinement, champagne continues to enchant and seduce. Its effervescence and complexity are a testament to centuries of dedication and artistry.

And let’s never forget the remarkable contributions of Madame Veuve Clicquot, whose innovations forever transformed the champagne industry, making each sip a tribute to her vision and perseverance!

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