10 reasons why Champagne is the best thing ever

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The familiar ‘pop’

Did you know that you’re more likely to be killed by a Champagne cork than by a poisonous spider?

Not because the cork in a bottle of bubbly harbours a secret set of fangs or an abdomen of neurotoxic venom, but because when popped out of the bottle the cork can reach a velocity of 62mph.

Good news for arachnophobes.

That said, I’d rather spend an hour in a room with a bottle of Ruinart than with a tarantula.

In spite of the statistically significant chance of death, Champagne is wonderful for a million reasons. While I don’t have the time (or patience) to outline all arguments in its favour, here are ten.

(1) Its composition. Champagne usually made as a blend of three grape varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meurnier (to all you ‘Anything But Chardonnay proponents – your enemy is a principal grape variety in Champagne!). Each varietal brings to the table its own unique characteristics: Chardonnay contributes freshness and acidity, Pinot Noir tends to provide body and structure, and Meunier offers fruity, aromatic flavours.

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Wise strategy

 

(2) Its ability to age. While NV (non-vintage) contains grapes from different years, Vintage Champagnes (think Dom Perignon) comprise of grapes solely from one year. The latter can age for a while; I was fortunate enough to have a glass or three of 2002 Dom on Christmas Day. The twelve or so years it spent aging in oak barrels added some truly enchanting flavours to the wine – vanilla, butter,  soft spices, biscuit….mmmm….

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Aging gracefully

 

(3) Its variety. In addition to the typical three grape blend, you can find “Blanc de Blancs” Champagne which is comprised exclusively of Chardonnay, and “Blanc de Noirs” which is entirely Pinot Noir. These two options offer a slightly nuanced flavour profile in comparison to the typical blend. You can also find “Grower Champagnes” – essentially, the winemaker is responsible for the grape growing in addition to the fermenting and bottling process. Most big brands (Moet, Dom, Laurent-Perrier, etc.) buy their grapes from a variety of vineyards in the region and blend them all together. In short…not all Champagnes are created the same.

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All Grower Champagnes – a refreshing break from the big brands

 

(4) Its exciting history. Legend has it, the monk Dom Perignon discovered Champagne, yelling “come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”. In reality, this didn’t actually happen – the discovery of carbonated wine was more scientific than romantic – but it’s still a great dinner party story.

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“Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”

 

(5) Its fizziness. It is estimated that each bottle contains close to 50 million bubbles (another great dinner party story. Why am I giving away all my tricks?!). This makes Champagne a fabulous companion to many dishes; the bubbles cleanse your palate after each bite, making it perfect with notoriously-difficult-to-pair spicy dishes. (Shameless plug – use Grappled for more food and wine pairing tips!) 

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Schezuan chilli prawns – perfect with Champagne

 

(6) Rosé Champagne. Need I say more?!

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Pretty in pink

 

(7) Its process of production. Champagne undergoes two rounds of fermentation – once in the barrel and once in the bottle. You gotta appreciate the hard work undertaken and patience required to reach the final product.

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Second fermentation in the bottle

 

(8) Its popularity among celebs and world leaders. Marilyn Monroe once took a bath in bubbly (it took 350 bottles to fill the tub – bit of a waste if you ask me). Winston Churchill drank so much of the stuff that Pol Roger named a cuvée after him. James Bond frequently enjoyed Champagne, drinking it more than any other beverage (that’s impressive given his reputation as “Mr Shaken Not Stirred”.

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Churchill on Champagne: “In victory, I deserve it; in defeat I need it.”

 

(9) Its constant entertainment factor. If you put a raisin in a Champagne flute, it will bounce up and down in the glass. Don’t believe me? Try it!

 

(10) Its calorie count. 4oz of Champagne contains 90 calories, while you’re looking at 100 on average for still wine. Every little helps, right?!

I’m with ya, sister

 

I’m going to end this post with a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.

Cheers!

Image credit: giphy, thenosh.co.uk, Tom Stevenson/Winesearcher, Telegraph, chzbgr, darrenbrogden, cnwinenews, glassofbubbly


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