“Come quickly I can taste the stars”
Champagne is a sparkling white wine grown and produced in
North Eastern France in the Champagne Ardennes region – 130
miles north of Paris. It takes its name from the area and if
champagne is not produced in this region, it is not true
The Romans first bought wine to France and planted vines
in the Champagne area in the 5th century where production
continued unchanged into the Middle Ages.
The church owned many vineyards at this time and used the
wine for religious purposes.
The wine produced in the champagne area how ever was nothing
like the sparkling wine today.
The wine was red and because of the northerly location, thin
and insipid. Added to that, storing the wine over winter in
these cold northern temperatures meant that the yeast in the
bottles would often stop working during the storage period.
Once spring arrived, the yeast would return to life and
start fermenting, releasing carbon dioxide gas. This natural
double fermentation process caused many bottles to explode
and the final wine would be left with bubbles which was seen
as a fault.
Dom Pérignon is widely credited with being the creator of
Dom Pérignon was a Benedictine monk who served as cellar master to
Hautviller Abbey until his death in 1715. He spent his life
experimenting and trying avoid the double fermentation to create the perfect wine and it
was he who gave the wine of champagne it’s unmistakable
A set of rules said to be by Dom Pérignon were published in 1718.
One rule states that champagne should only be made from Pinot Noir
grapes. Another that the grape vines should be pruned harshly so
they would be shorter and produce a smaller crop.
The grapes had to be harvested in cool damp conditions and every
care had be taken to avoid breaking or bruising the grapes. Dom
Pérignon would not allow the grapes to be trodden and insisted that
the best grapes were pressed.
Popular myth has it that he said “Come quickly I can
taste the stars” on first tasting champagne but this is now
believed to have been an early advertising slogan!
Today the name Dom Perignon lives on as a brand of
vintage champagne produced by Moet & Chandon.