Truths and myths about Champagne

Opulence, wealth, and enchanting myths envelop the elixir of kings—champagne. Having champagne grace your table during Christmas infuses an air of elegance and festivity into the celebration. The effervescent bubbles and crisp taste of champagne evoke a sense of luxury, making it the perfect companion for toasting to joyous moments with family and friends. The sound of popping corks and clinking glasses enhances the atmosphere, signaling the commencement of a special occasion.

We’ve compiled some information to dispel myths surrounding champagne, shedding light on why it has been the star of upscale parties for centuries.

Firstly, champagne is exclusively the sparkling wine originating from the Champagne region in France, crafted from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grape varieties using the traditional method (Méthode Traditionnelle). Sparkling wines from other locales are designated differently, such as Prosecco and Franciacorta from Italy, and Cava from Spain.

The primary and often misconstrued myth asserts that champagne was accidentally discovered by the monk Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715), famously exclaiming, “Come quickly! I’m tasting the stars!” While the Benedictine monk made significant contributions to champagne development, he did not invent it. The iconic phrase, in fact, originated in a 19th-century advertisement.

Myth number two suggests that champagne should only be sipped from coupe or flute glasses. However, for the fullest enjoyment, there’s no need to invest in specialized glassware. Flutes suit Prosecco and other sparkling wines with lower pressure, as they can lose their effervescence more easily. A coupe glass, though elegant, sacrifices aroma appreciation due to its broad surface area and minimal wall. Champagne is best savored in a traditional white wine glass, allowing you to delve into the rich, complex aromas.

The third and final myth to address, amidst countless others, insists that good champagne must come with a hefty price tag. While bottles from renowned Champagne houses can exceed 300 euros, excellent options can be found for 60 or 70 euros. The price reflects labor, land costs, and aging time, not necessarily the extensive marketing budgets of larger houses. At Phelo, we champion small houses and grower Champagnes, where grapes are grown and wine is vinified on the same estate.

When embarking on your Christmas preparations at the liquor store, consider trusting the recommendations of the expert before you. It’s a win-win, providing an opportunity to learn and taste something new, enhancing your festive celebrations.

Cheers to a Christmas filled with the sparkle of well-chosen champagne!