Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beyond Bubbles: The Essence of Champagne



I fell in love with champagne and French lifestyle while watching the movie, Gigi. I use to sing " The Night They Invented Champagne" over and over again. I imagined myself in the scene with Gigi and Gaston, doing the can can with a flute of champagne in my hand. The scene in the movie oozes of joie de vivre and luxury in other words the essence of champagne.

While bubbles and celebration come to mind when people think of champagne there is so much more to this wine.There is a rich history and culture attached to champagne as we see it today. Can you believe that when champagne was first produced, wine producers tried to get rid of the bubbles. They saw the bubbles as a failure. No matter how hard they tried the bubbles in the wine remained. It did not hurt that eventually doctors made claims that the bubble cured illness. It was when champagne became the drink of choice for the rich and royalty that everything began to change.

After champagne was introduced to King Louis XIV, he drank it exclusively.The women of the French royal court took a sip and went crazy over it. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte would make a stop in the Champagne region before all military action to pick up some bottles of bubbly to take on the road as he went into battle. Champagne became such a trend during the 18th century that the top champagne houses had traveling sales people to take their champagnes to courts throughout Europe to compete for the affection of drinkers.

As the most influential people in society drank champagne, they bragged about it. Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of King Louis XV and member of the French court was an avid lover of the wine. She is quoted to having said "champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it." Cora Pearl who was one of the wealthiest and  most famous women in the 19th century filled up her bath tub with vintage champagne and invited her admirers to come watch her bathe in it. While something like this sounds over the top, it was a big coo. Fast forward to today and champagne is still the favorite drink of many celebrities, trendsetters and influential people. For example, the icon Marilyn Monroe loved champagne and was photographed many times taking a sip. Just like Cora Pearl, Monroe made the headlines by taking  a champagne bath. It took 350 bottles to fill the tub. Everybody who is anybody drinks champagne, because it is a lifestyle.


An amazing 200 million bottles of champagne are produced each year. The only way to drink an authentic champagne is to have one produced from the Champagne region of France. From the people who produce all of the bubbles to those who love to indulge drinking it, it is a wine of passion and life. Champagne is the meaning of joie de vivre.

Most of the founding champagne houses are still producing the top selling champagnes around the world. Every day a new sparkling wine comes on the scene to attempt to recreate the magick that is champagne. While the founders of champagne are no longer with us, they have left their art and joie de vivre in the bottle.

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