Champagne is named after the region in northeast France where it’s produced. The name “Champagne” is protected and only sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region can be called Champagne. The same goes for the process that assures those fantastic bubbles: It’s called the méthode champenoise and only Champagne-makers in Champagne can claim its use.
History of Champagne
People wondered for years who first created those bubbles...
The people of France thought they had discovered the answer in 1821 when a Benedictine monk, Dom Groussard, told a wonderful story…
He told of Dom Perignon, a monk who had lived at the Abbey of Hautvillers more than 100 years earlier. He said Dom Perignon had experienced a happy accident when he opened a bottle of wine that had been bottled before it had completely fermented. The wine continued to ferment in the bottle, and when the monk went to open it, the cork popped out and the wine fizzed and sparkled. Curious, Dom Perignon poured himself a glass. He was thrilled with the taste and the little bubbles tickling his nose. He called out to the other monks, “Brothers, come quickly – I’m drinking stars!” Then Dom Perignon went on to develop a method of assuring that his wine was always fizzy.
It’s a charming legend that the French believed for a long time. A monk should be a pretty good source. But it turned out this one wasn’t: he liked to fib. Part of what he said was true: Dom Perignon did exist and he did work as cellar-master at the Abbey of Hautvillers for most of his life. He was responsible for acquiring more vineyards and for improving the Abbey’s non-sparkling wines. However, his work was documented, and there was no mention of him ever making sparkling wine, either accidentally or on purpose.
It was a good story, and French wine makers used it to promote the drink and the Champagne region. It also helped the reputation of the celebratory drink which had long been associated with royalty. Now that people knew it had been invented by a simple monk, it would be a drink for everyone. In 1921 Moët and Chandon created a brand of Champagne called Dom Perignon after the monk credited with inventing the bubbly brew.
The 2021 Champagne Shortage
Take a deep breath before we tell you this…we’re heading towards a Christmas Champagne shortage…
Before you freak out - the shortage won’t be massive. We won't see any deals this Christmas on Champagne, so you’ll have to invest a bit if you’re looking for some bubbly to deck the halls.
Due to the fall in demand over lockdown in 2020 (which does make sense…), Champagne houses took the decision to reduce the number of bottles produced. However, as people celebrate the easing of the Covid restrictions, Champagne demand is picking up. That demand that will only increase as we come into the holiday season.
If you are feeling like it might be time to begin stocking up, it’s always a good idea to look out for any deals that might be about and take advantage of them now. However, if it sounds like Champagne might just be too expensive and hard to find this Christmas, consider the worlds of Cava and Prosecco.