Not to put a damper on your plans to welcome in the new year and the new decade, but please be aware that a Champagne cork can fly up to 50 miles per hour as it exits the bottle if all the conditions are right… or wrong.
So as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus implored his fellow “Hill Street Blues” officers, “Let’s be careful out there.”
(Editor’s Note: If you’re old enough to understand that cultural reference, you no longer need to show your I.D. when ordering a glass of wine.)
Champagne has long been the preferred toasting beverage of New Year’s Eve and other important occasions. There’s a good chance you’ll be drinking it not only tonight, but throughout the extended holiday week.
But because it’s typically limited to special occasions (one of the travesties of the wine-drinking world), we tend to know a whole lot more about other types of wine. Let’s do something about that with this five-point Champagne primer…
- File this one under, “Be Careful What You Wish For.” In AD 92, today’s Champagne region experienced one of its most abundant grape crops ever. Meanwhile, the cereal crop in the area was quite poor. Emperor Domitian, is his wisdom (?), reacted by ordering all of the grapevines uprooted.
- Today’s Champagne region encompasses almost 320 villages and more than 75,000 acres.
- Champagne once was the domain of only the rich and famous. But in modern times it has been democratized to some degree. Although the most famous labels remain ultra-pricey, today there are more affordable renditions from some grower estates, as well as delicious bubbly options (not technically Champagnes) from other parts of France.
- Champagne making is strictly controlled by France’s Appellation d’Origine Controlee. The AOC dictates how the grapes may be grown, how they may be harvested and processed, the varieties that may be used in making Champagne, and much more.
- Finally, a fascinating Champagne fact for math lovers. According to legend, Marilyn Monroe once took a Champagne bath that required 350 bottles to fill the tub. Considering the “typical” bottle of Champagne houses 49 million bubbles, that means Ms. Monroe’s bathtub contained 17,150,000,000 bubbles.
We’re guessing Ms. Monroe gave Mr. Bubble the night off…
Happy New Year! And here’s to a health-filled 2020 highlighted by lots of wine discoveries, courtesy of Vinesse.