Category Archives: All About Wine

Bubbly Tales

Cork of a Champagne

BUBBLY TALES

“ No government could survive without champagne. Champagne in the throats of  diplomatic people is like oil in the wheels of an engine!”

Champagne is probably one of the most well-known of all wines. It is the epitome of romance. The spirit of celebration. The harbinger of all things wonderful. It has enthralled humankind over the years, especially the rich and famous who imbibed the elegant bubbly in copious quantities. Many a young maiden was subtly seduced with this mystical aphrodisiac, her inhibitions sent flying out with the winds.

The creation of champagne (sham-pain) is generally credited to `Dom Perignon’ (pay-ree-nyon), the cellar-master at the Abbey of Hautvillers at the end of the 17th century though some historians believe that it was actually the British who accidentally stumbled upon the recipe. On bottling the barrels of wine shipped to them from Champagne, they found that some of the wine underwent a secondary fermentation in the bottle, probably due to some leftover yeast and sugars that found some warmth in the English cellars. But it most certainly was Perignon who honed this discovery to a fine art. It was he who introduced the art of blending different wines from the various areas of Champagne, to create a `cuvee’ (pronounced cue-vay), which helped the wine to harness the best of each grape quality and presenting a unique style of wine. It was he who thought of putting an additional bit of yeast and sugar into the bottled wine to ensure a livelier wine. And after losing a lot of it to burst bottles, Dom Perignon invented the `muzzled cork’ to keep the bubbles in.

Wine Know

Decanting Wine 2


TO DO OR NOT TO DO

One is often told that red wines should be allowed to breathe before they are served. Have you heard that too? Some critics believe that it is a rather pretentious practice, and unless you are a professional wine taster or a true connoisseur (how does one recognise this select breed anyway?!), it is nigh impossible to tell the subtle difference. Should one or shouldn’t one? Why on earth do red wines need to breathe? Does it honestly help? I decided to do a bit of investigating to try and resolve the issue.

The other inseparable component of red wine service is `decanting’. Another hotly debated topic. Incidentally, the first English dictionary defined a `decanter’ as a `glass vessel for pouring off a liquid clear from its lees’. Lees are the deposits thrown by wine during the process of maturation. In the early days when wine making was not such a fine art, most wine came murky with sediment. It was essential that the clear wine be separated from the deposits which called for siphoning it into a glass decanter. The decanter showed the colour and brilliance of the wine to perfection and everybody was happy. With advances in technology, young wines do not have deposits any more. Why then is decanting still recommended? Again, its the `let it breathe’ funda in action.