Want to drink the stars? In 1697 when Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk and cellar master, realized bubbles had been accidentally added to his wine, he cried, “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!” And so, the méthode champenoise was born, meaning all Champagne is technically sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. The secret? To actually be considered Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region in northeastern France. Typically made with Chardonnay (white grape), Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier (black grapes), some of the world’s most expensive bottles of sparkling wine are produced in the region. Order une coupe of one of the top-selling brands: Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Nicolas Feuillatte.
What is a muselet? Nothing to do with music.A muselet (mew-zeh-LAY) is the wire cage or “hood” that holds a Champagne or sparkling wine cork firmly in place. It derives its name from the French “museler”, meaning “to muzzle”, in English. Adolphe Jacquesson is credited with inventing the restraining device in 1844, replacing the less secure method involving wooden plugs and cord. Though most people remove it first, the muselet should be removed in tandem with the cork.
What does my sparkling or champagne say about me? First, I do consider price and location. Second, I may splurge periodically, just because I deserve it. And third, I regard the champagne grape growers and the entire French champagne industry as overpriced, greedy, and stuck in the 17th century.
Most importantly, I think it should be consumed any time you wish, not just special occasions. I have my “everyday” bubbly, and my special bubbly. I rely on both mail order (WTSO), and Trader Joe’s. I try not to keep more than a few cases around, and always keep THREE bottles chilled: a cremant, a California sparkling, and a champagne.
When I take a bottle to a dinner or party, I rarely tell the hosts about the sparkling wine. I let them decide, first, if they like it, then I might tell them more, like the cost or availability. And, much to my amusement, most of the time they think I am a BIG spender!!! Hahaha!!!
I have, purely by mistake, taken $100 bottles to parties, and soon realized my mistake. Fortunately, the reviews matched the quality. This is not always the case. Sometimes, my $7 bottle makes the SAME impression!
So, have I adequately told you what my sparkling says about me. I hope it says the following: pretty darn good, quite affordable, and mostly enjoyable!!!