It is not just the bubbles in bollinger that make champagne so special, but they certainly play a large part in it. If you have ever been so unlucky as to have sampled flat warm champagne, then you will know exactly what we mean.
Champagne has been produced in the Champagne region in France since the seventeenth century and to a large extent it originated in two abbeys: Saint-Pierre aux Monts de Châlons and Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers. The wine masters were respectively Frère Jean Oudart and Dom Pierre Pérignon who developed many of the manufacturing techniques that are still used today, though at first they attempted to prevent bubbles forming in the first place. In those days, before bubbly champagne became popular, champagne bubbles were considered to indicate a defective wine; it was only later, and after bubbly champagne became popular in England, that they set about taming the bubble making process.
The first bubbles were something of an accident and the result of uncontrolled primary and secondary fermentations. It was not until the mid nineteenth century that wine makers finally tamed the bubbles and created the drink that we love today. Before then it was not unusually for half of the bottles to explode due to too high pressure.
England was highly influential in the development of champagne and even before it intentionally had bubbles still wines from the region were popular. What happened was that after the wine had been rebottled in wine shops London champions of it, such as the Dukes of Bedford and Buckingham, discovered that it had become delightfully bubbly. The actual process of secondary fermentation was discovered by an English Chemist called Christopher Merret, whose discovery pre-dated the work of the French wine makers Oudart and Pérignon, and who was the real inventor of champagne bubbles.
London became the major centre for bubbly Champagne, and it was from there that its popularity spread throughout Europe and eventually to France prompting the development of the product as we now know it. The popularity grew rapidly though during and between the First and Second World Wars champagne became something of a rarity; however from the 1950s its popularity has soured and now over 200 million bobbles of it are consumed annually.
As the wine connoisseurs of London originally discovered, and people have been discovering ever since, it is the bubbles in champagne that make it such a special drink. The flavour of champagne is concentrated in the bubbles, which is why flat champagne can taste so bland. They also add the special acidic champagne bite and increase the rate of alcohol absorption into the blood stream.
Liz is a freelance writter in a few the travel industry, with an interest in broadband technology (yep a little geeky!) as long as it’s accompanied by a little red wine! She enjoys writing about wine, technology, travel and sometimes ventures into fashion!