I woke this morning to the not-so-very delicate tones of Chris Evans, broadcasting to the world through Radio 2 that it was the anniversary of the creation of Champagne by famed monk star, Dom Perignon. Naturally, I was intrigued as to how anyone could set a date on this event. Once properly awake, I realised how foolish I’d been to even contemplate Evans’s statement.
Fact is that no-one knows the exact date of the event and whilst Dom Perignon is recognised for being the monk that invented Champagne, it’s highly likely that bubbly was around well before DP came on the scene.
What is true though is that DP did refine the technique of producing white bubbles from red grapes, a practice that continues today with over half of Champagne made from red (or black) Pinot Noir grapes.
But poor old DP spent most of his time trying to rid his wines of bubbles, his concern being an unwelcome secondary fermentation. Thankfully, he failed in this respect and today we enjoy the fruits of his failures.
Indeed, before bubbles were on the scene, the Romans were producing vast quantities of flat wine from that region. Dom Perignon himself was creditted for his efforts in helping the Abbey of Hautvillers double it s production during his cellar-mastership.