The Night They Invented Champagne...
December 31, 2001 6:53 AM   Subscribe

The Night They Invented Champagne... Tonight's the night for Champagne. Meaning French. No other is as appropriate or necessary. If you know nothing - or a lot - about this most pleasant and aphrodisiac of all wines, you should still get more serious about it. The Champagne Growers' Association has an excellent website where you can learn how to chill, open, serve and properly taste Champagne. They'll even send you four free, attractive little notebooks to keep in your cocktail cabinet. The green roll-down menus are all enlightening and to the point. But don't think the French have all the experts. There's this amazing American website, called IntoWine, put up by the M2 Communications Wine Education Center, which is just as wise and, typically, more complete and snobbish. Their Champagne section is faultless. Compare cultures by noting how they serve Champagne. Check out their full list of Champagne houses and related movies. Happy New Year, MetaFilter!
posted by MiguelCardoso (28 comments total)
Anybody else starting to think that Miguel is a real lush? I'm just kidding, I really love these sites. I'm not much of a wine drinker, but I am fascinated by all the details that go into making, matching and serving it. I especially love the "Which kind of champagne are you" quiz- makes me wonder if I might not like one of the kinds I am.
posted by headspace at 7:05 AM on December 31, 2001

Maybe this is your chance to try out that champagne saber technique.
posted by syscom at 7:25 AM on December 31, 2001

Much ado over crushed grapes.
posted by tommasz at 7:50 AM on December 31, 2001

Yeah, like Shakespeare is much ado over paper and ink.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:55 AM on December 31, 2001

Champagne was 'invented' in the summer of 1693. "Brothers come quickly, I am drinking stars!"
posted by xowie at 8:08 AM on December 31, 2001

Speaking of quality liquor sites, I've been in love with this little treasure for some time. Absinthe shipped worldwide! Does it get any better?
posted by hipstertrash at 8:18 AM on December 31, 2001

absinthe, put sugar in it and set fire to it.!!

straight its lethal enough - but with that , well you'll see hehehehe
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:38 AM on December 31, 2001

"For years, humans have been tortured by Stuck Tune Syndrome, in which a seemingly innocuous piece of music lodges in the brain and won't leave. So far, no reliable cure exists, but a University of Cincinnati professor hopes to change that. James Kellaris has embarked on a study to figure out why songs sometimes commandeer people's thoughts. Kellaris, a marketing teacher who moonlights as a bouzouki player in a Greek band, theorizes that certain types of music operate like mental mosquito bites. They create a "cognitive itch" that can only be scratched by replaying the tune in the mind. The more the brain scratches, the worse the itch gets."

Now I've got Maurice Chevalier and that awful song scratching at my mind!
posted by Carol Anne at 8:44 AM on December 31, 2001

Just gotta say, Miguel -- awesome posts. Simply terrific link density and relevance. Thanks a lot!
posted by tweebiscuit at 9:19 AM on December 31, 2001

I'm still trying to polish off the bottle of vintage port you suckered me into opening early, and now you want I should switch to champagne? Zut alors!
posted by briank at 9:36 AM on December 31, 2001

ironically i was given a bottle of champagne at work this year (it was wrapped and i thought it was wine at the time -- shows what i know, i guess). never drank it before, probably won't tonight either.
posted by moz at 11:13 AM on December 31, 2001

"Champagne for my real friends. Real pain for my sham friends." I first heard that from the mouth of Tom Waits, but this champagne trivia page attributes it to Dan Berger of the LA Times.

The champagne region is considered notable within French wine-making for the role women - the so-called "Champagne Widows" - played in the business. One of them, Madame Lily Bollinger, said: "I only drink champagne when I'm happy, and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty."
posted by liam at 11:18 AM on December 31, 2001

Though I love champagne, I can't justify the price this year. We'll be drinking in the new year with some Catalonian cava -- though not the ubiquitous Freixenet.
posted by BT at 11:35 AM on December 31, 2001

Carol Anne: In order to escape this instance of Stuck Tune Syndrome, you might want to investigate Myra English, Champagne Lady of Hawaii, and her signature tune "Drinking Champagne" (Warning: Real audio clip).
posted by liam at 11:46 AM on December 31, 2001

Pacific Echo, a sparkling from Mendocino is grrreat. Had some at their cellars. If you can find it about, definitely a good one. Also Iron Horse, though I'm not sure of it's availability outside California.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:42 PM on December 31, 2001

And I, by the way, most definitely am a lush. So you can take my word for it.

I don't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't get a drink.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2001

Kafkaesque, are you in the Ski Room, bumming drinks off Santa Claus again?
posted by liam at 1:05 PM on December 31, 2001

The Iron Horse Pinot Noir is easily available here in NYC, and good, so I assume the sparkling must be around. I'll be looking for it.
posted by liam at 1:12 PM on December 31, 2001

It never ceases to amaze me the number of ways we've invented to manufacture and consume what is after all a rather simple molecule.
posted by kindall at 1:12 PM on December 31, 2001

Ah, but what a molecule!

And liam, that was Christmas Eve, in a sad cafe.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:22 PM on December 31, 2001

The English invented champagne: "...the writings of Sir George Etherege in 1676, nearly twenty years before Dom Pérignon is claimed to have invented sparkling wine, reveal that it was already common practice to render sparkling the still wines that were being imported from Champagne. Indeed the practice had already been referred to as early as 1662 when Christopher Merret presented a paper to the newly formed Royal Society in which he stated that sugar and molasses were being added to wines of all sorts to make them sparkling." Take that, Dom Perignon!
posted by liam at 1:38 PM on December 31, 2001

Salon Link. Couldn't help it. It's my favorite and I will begin chilling a bottle or two shortly.

Moz, champagne is wine. It is just a particularly yummy, fizzy kind of wine.

Kafkaesque, Iron Horse seems to be available most places in the U.S. I've had plenty here in Texas, anyway. It's a great value, wherever you find it. I think I've had every varietal of their's but sparkling.

liam, while agreeing that DP is overrated in every way, I must disagree with the premise. Champagne could not be made in any effective, lasting way until the riddling process was invented, what with exploding bottles and the inability of cellaring it. It was done so by the House of Clicquot. At least one reason not to kill the French.

Thank you so much for the links, everyone. My hard drive died last week and I have lost all my bookmarks. I share Miguel's love of port and champagne and your links have been a godsend. Happy New Year, everyone.
posted by colt45 at 2:50 PM on December 31, 2001

It just tickles my fancy to no end that colt45 has a love of champagne and port.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:50 PM on December 31, 2001

Santé, colt45, and Feliz Ano Novo todomundo Mefioso.
posted by liam at 4:12 PM on December 31, 2001

Umm..."sparkling" is not a varietal...I knew that..ugh.

mr_crash_davis - why? I had a conversation yesterday with a friend about which champagne we would celebrate with if the Astros ever won the Series. Decided not to wait to drink the Salon.

Prospero Ano Novo, liam.
posted by colt45 at 4:36 PM on December 31, 2001

Caution: "It has to be one of the smallest risks in a risky world, but this may be the night to worry: A popping champagne cork could cost you an eye."
posted by Carol Anne at 5:00 PM on December 31, 2001

colt45: To hijack this thread in a completely new direction (momentarily), now that the Astrodome has been decommissioned do you think the team should change its name back?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:23 PM on December 31, 2001

mr_crash_davis - No. While the Colt 45's were special, they were quite right in leaving the name and the mosquitos [Scroll down] at the old stadium . I like the name Astros, it is nicely evocative of the history of the team. I can't find a picture of the Mercury astronauts throwing out the first pitch at the Astrodome in linkable form. Anyway, they can't exactly become the Enron's now, can they?

Back to discussing champagne and bodily injury....
posted by colt45 at 8:22 PM on December 31, 2001

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