More Champagne Facts

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March 16th 2018
Published: March 16th 2018
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I am not sure many of you share the same interest in sparkling wines that I do. The only "rule" I believe in is to drink what you like, and don't worry about the name or place it comes from. I also like to keep the price well under $20, as I do for red and white wines. But here goes anyway:

Over 308 million bottles of Champagne were sold by the end of last year. Just three days remain to exceed that figure this year (we assume you’ll do your part). According to the official trade group Comité Champagne, there are now 15,000 growers and 300 Houses (major firms) in the Champagne region.

If you are unsure about what you like, try going to a champagne or sparkling wine tasting, where you can try many different varieties. The best one in the Bay Area is the K & L Champagne Party in the Fall. For a flat fee, you get to taste some of the best champagnes made, regardless of price.

James Madison, James Monroe, John Tyler, James K. Polk, and Ulysses S. Grant were all champagne lovers. Of these, Polk was the most modest drinker. Will-Weber told us about a small scandal that happened under Monroe, when a whopping 1,200 bottles of Burgundy and Champagne from France were charged to the White House. Maybe that is why they are my favorite Presidents? On the other hand, the hated President Richard Nixon enjoyed expensive bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild — but he'd often serve cheaper wine to his guests. Figures!

Here are some bubbly favorites of Presidents:

Schramsburg Blanc de Blancs (1977 Jimmy Carter) $25
Schramsberg Cremant Demi-Sec (Bill Clinton & George W. Bush) $37
Piper Heidsieck (enjoyed 1963 Harry S. Truman) $42
Mumm Napa “Carlos Santana Brut” (Barack Obama) $50
Moet et Chandon (Woodrow Wilson & John F. Kennedy) $52
Veuve Cliquot (Grover Cleveland) $55
Dom Perignon (John F. Kennedy) $130

The Donald's inaugural lunch served Korbel Natural “Special Inaugural Cuvée” California Champagne, paired with chocolate soufflé and cherry vanilla ice cream for dessert. He did this to appease his California Congressmen.

What is the punt? You might notice that the punt is much deeper and pronounced in bottles of Champagne or other sparkling wines. Again, this strengthens the structure of the bottle and makes it more resistant to pressure. Think about that the next time you pop open a bottle of bubble — just make sure not to take someone's eye out!

California is the leading wine producing state—making more than 90 percent of all U.S. wine. If California were a nation, it would be the fourth leading wine-producing country in the world behind France, Italy and Spain. And can you believe we drink 18%!o(MISSING)f those wines?

Here is some great news: A 2003 case study reported that adults who consumed one to six alcoholic beverages a week showed a significantly lower risk of dementia than those who abstained from alcohol. It should also be noted that the moderate drinkers also fared better than study participants who had more than six alcoholic drinks a week. Me=less than six!

Which sparkling wine is not made in the traditional method like Champagne?

A. Crémant d’Alsace

B. Prosecco

C. Cava
D. Franciacorta Answer below

Sparkling wine answer: Prosecco is made by the Charmat, or tank method. In this method, the second fermentation (which creates the bubbles) takes place in a large tank. By contrast, in the traditional (Champagne) method, the second fermentation takes place inside each individual bottle. There are many reasons why Prosecco is relatively inexpensive, while Champagne is relatively expensive. One of them has to do with this. It is much more painstaking and expensive to conduct the second fermentation inside individual bottles rather than giant tanks.

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