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by Fred McMillin
for October 2000

 
Baroness Guirne Van Zuylen

Baroness Guirne Van Zuylen (left)and Mrs. McMillin examining some of the half billion bottles of sparklers Germany makes annually.

A Pocketful of Bubbles

 

Prologue

It's only pocketsize, but the 192 pages contain all you need to know to buy and serve the sparkling wines of the world.

..The Millennium Champagne and Sparkling Wine Guide by Tom Stevenson.

 

The Rest of the Story

Here are some tidbits, deviously selected to lure you into purchasing this treat.

The biggest producer of sparkling wine in the world? It's not France. It's Germany! (see photo at Deinhard Winery, Koblenz)

The first words ever written about sparkling wine? Quite possibly: "wine...when it moveth itself." ...(Proverbs)

What country may have the most suitable location next to France's Champagne district for producing great sparkling wine? It's been making sparklers for less than 20 years, but watch New Zealand!

Which Champagne did the following people drink: Alfred Hitchcock, every British monarch during the 20th century, Chekhov, Jules Verne, the Bonapartes? They all drank Veuve (widow) Clicquot.

What country drinks the most French Champagne? They drink nearly twice as much as the rest of the world combined. It is France!

Who awakened American interest in French Champagne by serving it 210 years ago? None other than George Washington, whose purchasing agent was Thomas Jefferson.

During the American Prohibition in the 1920s, still (non-sparkling) wine could be used by the church for sacramental purposes. It was a long shot, but the Pleasant Valley Wine Company.sued for the right to sell bubbly to the clergy. They Won!

In Moldova's city of Cricova there is underground storage for a billion bottles of fizz, designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Who had it built? The now defunct Politburo.

All this and much, much more for $19.95.

 

Postscript—How to age your Champagne.

First, find a shipwreck. During the California Gold Rush in 1849, the vessel NIANTIC was beached in San Francisco harbor. Over 20 years later, 35 baskets of Jacquesson Champagne were found covered with mud. Upon uncorking, "the wine effervesced slightly and was of a very fair flavor."

 


 
 

This page created October 2000

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