Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Guest Blogger Kate Bridges: About Champagne
While Margaret is off exploring Italy, let’s share a toast to her trip.
Champagne has always intrigued me.
Rumor has it that when the French monk, Dom Perignon, first tasted the champagne he created, he said, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” Whether he actually said it or not, it’s a great description of this sparkling wine.
French Benedictine monks were the first to create champagne in the 17th century. The drink is named after the Champagne region of France where they lived. One of the monks was Dom Pierre Perignon (1639-1715). Some say he was the very first monk to discover champagne, but the topic is controversial. During those times, monks produced wine because it was blessed and used during Mass.
How was champagne first discovered? Because of the cooler temperatures and shorter growing season of the grapes in the Champagne region, the grapes were picked late in the year and fermentation was often cut short. Nothing much happened to the wine over the winter, but when the weather got warmer in the spring, a second fermentation process automatically began. This second fermentation created natural bubbles of carbon dioxide. If the champagne was stored in barrels, the effervescence escaped. But when stored in bottles, the way the monks stored it, the bubbles were trapped inside. Hence, champagne was born.
Cheaper versions of sparkling wine—some produced in North America—have the carbon dioxide bubbles injected directed by machine. This is not true champagne.
The first bottle of the brand name Dom Perignon was produced in 1936–named after the famous monk.
How do you celebrate a special occasion? I’m not a big drinker, but often when I have something to celebrate—like a new book hitting the shelves—my husband will take me out for dinner. I have a new novel hitting the stores in November called ALASKAN RENEGADE. It’s set in the coastal town of Skagway and it’s about the town nurse, Victoria Windhaven. When she sets off on a dangerous medical journey through the Alaskan wilderness, she’s forced to ride with a man from her past—bodyguard Brant MacQuaid. There’s an excerpt on my website katebridges.com.
What kinds of things do you like to do when you celebrate a milestone or something special?
Order ALASKAN RENEGADE at Harlequin - already available in ebook format or pre-order at Amazon.