Saturday, December 29, 2007

Champagne Bottles

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Champagne (wine) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of wine to effect carbonation. It is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, from which it takes its name. While the term "champagne" is used by some makers of sparkling wine in other parts of the world, numerous countries limit the use of the term to only those wines that come from the Champagne appellation. In Europe, this principle is enshrined in the European Union by Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Other countries, such as the United States have recognized the exclusive nature of this name, yet maintain a legal structure that allows longtime domestic producers of sparkling wine to continue to use the term "Champagne" under specific circumstances.

Wines from the Champagne region were known before medieval times. Churches owned vineyards and monks produced wine for use in the sacrament of Eucharist. French kings were traditionally anointed in Reims and champagne wine was served as part of coronation festivities.

Kings appreciated the still, light, and crisp wine, and offered it as an homage to other monarchs in Europe. In the 17th century, still wines of Champagne were the wines for celebration in European countries. The English were the biggest consumers of Champagne wines.

The first commercial sparkling wine was produced in the Limoux area of Languedoc about 1535. Around 1700, sparkling Champagne, as we know it today, was born. There is documentary evidence that sparkling wine was first intentionally produced by English scientist and physician Christopher Merrett at least 30 years before the work of Dom Perignon who, contrary to legend and popular belief, did not invent sparkling wine.

Although the French monk Dom Perignon did not invent champagne, it is true he developed many advances in the production of this beverage, including holding the cork in place with a wire collar to withstand the fermentation pressure. It is believed champagne was created accidentally, yet others believe that the first champagne was made with rhubarb but was changed because of the high cost.

Champagne is mostly fermented in two sizes of bottles, standard bottles (750 mL), and magnums (1.5 L). In general, magnums are thought to be higher quality, as there is less oxygen in the bottle, and the volume to surface area favors the creation of appropriately-sized bubbles. However, there is no hard evidence for this view. Other bottle sizes, named for Biblical figures, are generally filled with Champagne that has been fermented in standard bottles or magnums.

Sizes larger than Jeroboam (3.0 L) are rare. Primat sized bottles (27 L) - and as of 2002 Melchizedek sized bottles (30 L) - are exclusively offered by the House Drappier. The same names are used for bottles containing wine and port; however Jeroboam, Rehoboam and Methuselah refer to different bottle volumes. On occasion unique sizes have been made for special occasions and people, the most notable example perhaps being the 20 fluid ounce / 60 cL. bottle (Imperial pint) made specially for Sir Winston Churchill by Pol Roger. In order to see a side-by-side comparisen, see this site: Champagne sizes

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Champagne (wine)

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