GOURMET WINES AND DRINKS
The elegance and luxury of Champagne: The story of an iconic drink
Champagne is an iconic drink that has enchanted the entire world. For centuries, this sparkling beverage has been synonymous with elegance, luxury and celebration. The history of champagne has its roots in ancient Rome, where local winemakers grew grapes and produced sparkling wines. However, it was only in the Champagne region of France that sparkling wine began to become popular.
In the Middle Ages, monks in the region began producing sparkling wines using the champenoise method, which involved fermentation in the bottle. This method, which involved adding sugar and yeast to the bottle before closing it, allowed for a natural fermentation that created bubbles in the wine.
During the 17th century, champagne became increasingly popular among the French nobility, who appreciated its unique taste and effervescence. However, champagne production remained limited to the Champagne region, and it was only during the 19th century that the drink began to be exported worldwide.
Today, champagne is considered one of the most iconic and luxurious drinks in the world, representing the ultimate symbol of celebration. Its long and fascinating history has been shaped by centuries of innovation and pursuit of excellence, which have helped create a unique product of the highest quality.
The Champenoise method: how high-quality Champagne is made
The drink we know today is the result of centuries of innovation and the pursuit of excellence. The Champagne region of France has a centuries-old tradition of growing grapes and producing high-quality sparkling wines.
Champagne is produced using the champenoise method, a long and complex process that requires a great deal of attention to detail. The process begins with the harvesting of the grapes, which are carefully selected to ensure the highest quality. Next, the grapes are crushed and the must is left to ferment in wooden barrels.
Once the must has fermented, it is blended with wines from previous vintages and sugar and yeast added to the bottle. This process, known as tirage, starts fermentation in the bottle, which creates the characteristic bubbles of champagne.
After about three months of fermentation in the bottle, the bottles are placed on pupitres, sloping wooden supports, and turned by hand to allow sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle. This process, known as remuage, takes about two and a half months. Next, the bottles are cooled and the neck is frozen to freeze the sediment. Finally, the bottle is opened and the cap is removed, creating pressure that expels the frozen sediment.
The bottle is then filled with a mixture of wine and sugar, known as liqueur d'expédition, to balance the flavor and sweetness of the champagne. Finally, the bottle is corked and sealed with the characteristic mushroom-shaped cork, ready to be bottled and sold.
How to Taste Champagne
Its characteristic perlage and uniqueness make Champagne the perfect choice for special occasions and to celebrate great achievements. Champagne tasting is a unique and immersive sensory experience that allows you to fully appreciate the characteristics of this sparkling beverage.
Tasting a champagne means immersing oneself in a world of aromas and flavors, and appreciating the nuances that only this drink can offer. The first stage of tasting is the visual evaluation. The bottle is carefully opened, avoiding noise, and the wine is poured into the glass. The glass is then tilted slightly to assess its clarity and effervescence, which should be steady and fine.
Next, the smell evaluation is carried out by bringing the nose close to the glass and gently sniffing. In this way, it is possible to assess the wine's primary aromas, which come from the grapes and the production process, such as hints of fruit, flowers or spices.
The next stage is the gustatory stage, which allows one to appreciate the flavors of the wine. The first sip should be taken gently, and then swirled around in the mouth to assess its body and structure. In this way, it is possible to appreciate its acidity, sweetness and freshness, as well as its flavors, which may be fruity, floral or spicy.
Finally, we proceed to the final evaluation, which allows us to assess the balance between the various elements of the wine and to evaluate its taste persistence, that is, the time during which its flavors can still be appreciated after tasting.
To enjoy a champagne at its best, it is important to take a few factors into consideration. First of all, the serving temperature should be about 6-8 degrees, to allow the bubbles to express themselves at their best. Also, it is important to use suitable glasses, such as those shaped like flute or tulip, which allow its effervescence to be appreciated.
Pairing champagne with food: secrets to the perfect pairing
Champagne is a refined and versatile drink that is perfectly suited to many different occasions and foods. Its perlage and freshness make it ideal as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to light and delicate dishes, while its fruity and spicy notes make it perfect for more flavorful and complex dishes.
For the perfect food pairing, it is important to choose the right type of champagne based on the dish you are serving. For example, a Blanc de Blancs champagne, made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, is perfectly suited to fish, seafood or vegetable dishes, while a Blanc de Noirs champagne, made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, is better suited to meat or cheese dishes.
For light dishes, such as oysters, shellfish or sushi, a brut champagne is recommended, with a fresh flavor and delicate perlage. In this case, it is important to choose a champagne that is dry but not too dry, so as not to overpower the delicate flavor of the food. For meat dishes, such as a beef tenderloin or roast beef, a more structured champagne is recommended, such as a rosé champagne or a vintage champagne. In this case, it is important to choose a champagne with greater aromatic complexity that can balance the strong flavor of the meat.
For French cheese dishes, such as brie, camembert, or roquefort, a softer, creamier champagne is recommended that can balance the intense flavor of the cheeses. In this case, it is important to choose a more mature and complex champagne that can enhance the flavor of the cheeses. Finally, for desserts, we recommend a demi-sec or sweet champagne that can balance the sweetness of the desserts. In this case, it is important to choose a champagne with more sweetness, able to enhance the flavor of desserts without overpowering them.
Choose what to pair with Champagne
Longino & Cardenal
Longino & Cardenal stands today as one of Italy's leading "food globetrotters." With passion and courage it carries out a continuous search for the best raw materials, often little known to most, in order to meet the new trends in consumer behavior that seek excellent products proposed in innovative forms. All our deliveries use specialized, refrigerated couriers.