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The Best New Wines From Champagne Don’t Have Any Bubbles at All

Robb Report
Robb Report
 2021-07-26
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Before Champagne became synonymous with bubbly, the region produced wine, of course; it was just meant to be still. And while some of sparkling’s precursors might have enjoyed a modicum of fame (what came from the king’s own vineyards in Aÿ was reportedly excellent), there were also many more simple wines known as oeil de perdrix (“partridge’s eye”) due to their slightly blush color (before about a century ago, it was common for red and white grapes to be mixed in a vineyard). Situated in northeast France, after all, Champagne was famously cool, its low temperatures a challenge for ripening grapes enough to make them into delicious still wines. Historically, the wines began fermenting again in the spring after the cold winter had shut down the process, but because they were shipped (primarily to England) in wooden barriques, the bubbles didn’t hold. Around 1735, though, Louis XV authorized shipping the wine in bottles, and the rest is history, as they say: Champagne was established as a sparkling-wine region.

robbreport.com

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