Of course, we're big fans of wine at Evachill HQ and there's nothing quite as delightful as a nice cold glass of Champagne. 20th October is national Champagne day and we can't think of a better reason to break out the bubbly!
We’ve already looked at the perfect Champagne cocktails, so we decided this time to share 10 surprising facts about Champagne that you might not know.
1. Champagne is a popular drink for James Bond. He's been featured drinking it 40 times across 22 movies, whilst Bollinger has been referenced 17 times and Dom Pérignon has been referenced 7 times. Forget shaken not stirred, Bond is all about sparkles.
2. Wine must meet a strict set of requirements to be called Champagne. The Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC), has developed a comprehensive list of rules for all wine produced in the French region of Champagne. These regulations include everything from using specific grape types, to the degree of pressing, and the time the wine must remain on its lees before bottling. Only after meeting these strict requirements can a wine be labeled as Champagne.
3. Champagne made in the 1800s has a very different taste to Champagne today. Champagne used to be much sweeter than it is today, and it was usually drunk as a dessert wine after a meal rather than a table wine which would be drunk with a meal. Nowadays the most common style is Brut and is much drier, with only 12 grams of residual sugar per litre.
4. Champagne should be enjoyed as close to when you bought it as possible. People often save a nice bottle of Champagne to be enjoyed for a special occasion but this runs the risk of the wine tasting bad. There’s a long running myth that Champagne only gets better with age, but Kevin Zraly, who runs America’s top wine school, argues that 90% of the world’s wine is supposed to be consumed within 1 year. The Champagne house has already aged the wine to its peak so it’s perfect to drink as soon as you buy it.
5. There are 49 million bubbles in a 750ml bottle of Champagne. Piper-Heidsieck is one of the top Champagne houses in the world and their CEO Cecile Bonnefond has some interesting insights. She says “you can pick great Champagne by the size of the bubbles … the finer and thinner the bubbles are, the higher the quality.”
6. Champagne tastes better when drunk out of a standard wine glass. Moët specialist, Alyse Mizia, says that Champagne flutes are really just a fancy way to present the wine and urges drinkers to use a standard wine glass instead to properly enjoy their drink. Mizia argues that part of the way we taste wine is through our sense of smell, yet Champagne flutes prevent us from truly smelling the wine. So next to you bring out the bubbly standard wine glasses are the way to go!
7. Champagne is the drink of choice for drinkers on a diet. Champagne contains fewer calories than most alcoholic drinks. The average class of Champagne has just 89 calories compared with 178 calories for a small cider and 120 calories for a margarita.
8. Champagne shouldn’t be stored in the fridge. It might seem obvious to put your Champagne in the fridge so that it’s nice and cold for drinking but doing so can be bad for your bottle. Mizia explains that the cork will dry out and shrink, the carbonation escapes, and other smells and flavours can get in. Instead a bottle of Champagne should always be stored on its side, out of the fridge, so the cork stays damp and the seal stays tight. Then you can move the bottle of Champagne to the fridge briefly to allow it to chill just before drinking.
9. A Champagne cork reaches a velocity of 64 km/h when popped out of the bottle. This isn’t particularly surprising though considering that the pressure inside a bottle of Champagne is 3 times the amount of pressure found in an average car tyre. There’s so much pressure in fact that the longest recorded distance a Champagne cork has traveled is over 54 metres. Centuries ago, Champagne was called “The Devil’s Wine” because the pressure was causing so many bottles to explode and people didn’t understand what was causing the explosions.
10. Champagne is associated with celebrations because of its consumption by French Kings. Producers of Champagne in the 17th, 18th and 19th century were careful to ensure that French royalty were drinking their wine. Since at the time French nobility represented the epitome of power, luxury and class, Champagne became synonymous with celebrations, power and luxury.
We wish you a happy and bubbly Champagne day however you choose to celebrate! And in case you want to keep your bottle of Champagne cold, simply pour it into one of our Evachill bottles and you'll have fridge cold sparkling wine for 24 hours.