Where did this festive libation get its name?
Champagne is a sparkling wine made from three types of grapes: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, and it is created exclusively in the Champagne region of France. Although sparkling wines are produced throughout the world, most countries restrict the use of the word “Champagne” to wines that are made in the Champagne region.
Wine has been made in this region since before medieval times. Today there are more than a hundred Champagne houses, in addition to almost 20,000 smaller vignerons, or vine-growing producers.
Supposedly, the first Champagne in France was a happy accident. The pressure that was created in the bottle from the fermentation caused the bottle to explode. This led to the nickname “le vin du diable,” or “the devil’s wine.” (Not to be confused with devil’s food or devil’s milk.)
If you’re looking to truly impress guests this New Year’s Eve, get out your sword. At ceremonial occasions, a technique called “sabrage” is used to open a Champagne bottle. It involves sliding a saber along the neck of the bottle and breaking the glass.
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