Boost Your Bubbly IQ

POP! knows a lot about Champagne so we decided to share a few fun facts that you probably did not know about Champagne.

  • Champagne came about as an accident. During the cold winters in Champagne, France the fermentation process would get interrupted and when spring came along it would start again. The winemakers would then try to stop the fermentation process, but failed. And as a result, the first bottles of sparkling wine were created, which were later adapted into Champagne by adding yeast and sugar in the second fermentation.
  • Have you ever wondered why a Champagne bottle looks different from normal wine bottles? Initially they were stored in the same bottles, however, these bottles weren’t designed to withstand the pressure of the second fermentation in the champagne making process and the bottles kept exploding. The British created what is now know as the iconic Champagne bottle, which is characterised by its deep indentation.
  • When we say pressure, we really mean pressure. The Champagne bottle can have a pressure of 6-7 atmospheres pressure (100psi). This doesn’t seem very impressive until you compare it to the pressure of a car tyre, which is only 2 atmosphere pressures (32psi).
  • A travelling cork can be very dangerous and many riddlers would wear steel helmets when they were in the cellars to avoid any injuries caused from flying corks. The longest recorded flight of a Champagne cork is 54 meters.
  • Champagne was initially sweet, but the English market preferred a dryer style, which lead to a shift towards Brut style Champagnes.
  • Your non-vintage Champagnes need to be aged for a minimum of 15 months, while your vintage Champagnes a minimum of 36 months. However, your bigger Champagne houses age their non-vintages much longer than the minimum required period because the best Champagne continues to develop as it ages.
  • Actress Marilyn Monroe once took a super luxurious bath in 350 bottles of Champagne, probably not at the correct drinking temperature, but who are we kidding? Isn’t that still the coolest thing you have ever heard?
  • There is an actual word for opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword. Made famous by Napoleon and his army when they celebrated victories in battle, ‘sabrage’ is only done in certain ceremonial occasions and the wielder uses the blunt side of the sword to pop open the bottle of bubbles.
  • Impress your guests at your next party by dropping a raisin into a glass of Champagne, it will continuously rise and fall in the glass.
  • One of the biggest questions is what type of glass you should drink your Champagne from. Is it best to drink from a flute or a coupe? Depending on your preferences, when you hear the legend of the coupe, you may feel that this is an obvious choice. Legend tells us that the coupe glass was modelled on the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breast, as interesting as that sounds it is not true and this model of glass was around long before this royal reigned France. Although the coupe is elegant and interesting, the reality is that the flute will keep your glass of bubbles more bubbly.

We leave you with the words of Winston Churchill during World War 1: ‘Remember Gentleman, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne.’