Whether it is a royal coronation or a sporting event, a political rally or your wedding, the bubbly is used as a sign of conquest, triumph and success. But what is it about the crisp pop of a Champagne cork that gives this sense of victory?
- The sparkle
A Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon has been renowned as the mastermind, who invented this fiesta drink. Back then, bubbles were thought to ruin wine not help it. Perignon was the cellar master for the Abbey of Hautvillers, and had the task of overseeing wine production and stamping out the risk of bubbles. However, Perignon failed, but he decided to try the ruined wine and found the taste surprisingly delightful and felt like he was drinking “the stars”. This ignited Perignon’s fascination for sparkling wines and after persistent efforts he was able to introduce a technique called Methode Champenoise, which continues to be the most popular and effective way to make the drink. Too much sugar meant the bottle might explode, and too less of it resulted in not enough bubbles in the bottle. The preciseness of the process resulted in a big price stamp.
- Embraced by the Royals :
Owing to its price and unfamiliarity, Champagne became the favourite drink for the royals in Europe. Coronations, birthdays, and other royal festivities were being commemorated with hefty amount of champagne bottles. In the mid 1800’s the drink had become a staple part of court life for the French Royals. So much so that during a ball held by Madame de Pompadour at Paris’s Hôtel de Ville, guests consumed an excess of 1,800 bottles in one night!
The French revolution was expected to halt down the drinks well made progress, however, the opposite happened. Those who managed to break free unharmed, were toasting their triumph all over Europe with some of the best Champagne vintages available. Soon enough, it became a part of the secular rituals that replaced formerly religious rituals. Want to ‘christen a ship’ without a priest? Just use the ‘holy water’ of champagne. The drink came to be opened at weddings, baptisms and other religious events.
• Into the Advertisements :
As the consumption saw a soar, brands like Taittinger, Möet et Chandon and Veuve Clicquot saw a chance to invest big in advertising campaigns. The opportunity was too good to miss and the sparkling became a must have! Family gatherings associated with Christmas and New Year were meant to have a bottle on the table. Champagne was soon attributed with happiness and the events that brought in the same.
• The Voyage Continues :
Through the test of time, Champagne has magically managed to hold on to its aura. The reasons to celebrate keep on multiplying and the ‘ starry sip of joy’, as Dom Pierre Perignon called it, continues to commemorate euphoric occasions. Right from smashing bottles against a ship before its maiden voyage to throwing champagne glasses on the floor at Russian weddings, Champagne has made its way to a lot of cultures around the world. The fact that a part of the glittering liquid is allowed to fountain out to assert a celebration is also why it continues to be perceived as a rich man’s drink till today.
“Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life,” said Charles Dickens, and it remains to be so.