A Brief Education on Champagne

As we all know, the region of Champagne, France is home to its eponymous beverage. 

Moet Chandon Ice Imperial Champagne

Reims, the capital of Champagne, played a central role in French history as the city for the country’s coronation ceremonies since the 11th century.

There’s a reason why Italian sparkling white wine is called “Prosecco” and Spanish sparking white wine goes by “Cava”—although there are other sparkling white wines made elsewhere, they only qualify as champagne if they are made within a certain distance of the proper French province, as well as meet all of the standards set by the AOC.

Here are some quick facts about the popular, most frequently name-dropped champagne houses:

Bollinger

The relationship between the French champagne house and Britain goes back to 1858 when Joseph Bollinger met Ludwig Mentzendorff, a wine shipper based in London. Their friendship left a strong legacy for Brits to keep loving “Bollie” over time—it’s even favorited by James Bond.

Veuve Clicquot

In 1798, Founder Philippe Clicquot chose the anchor—a symbol of hope rigour—to brand his corks and to distinguish his champagne from the rest. Other symbols used to distinguish Veuve Clicquot include the comet and its ubiquitous yellow label.

Moet Chandon rose and champagne

Moët & Chandon

Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of “The Sun King,” Louis XIV, did her part for Moët & Chandon by drinking the champagne in royal court. One of her more famous quotes, inspired by her favorite drink:

“Champagne is the only wine in the world that makes every woman beautiful.” 

Taittinger

The House of Taittinger didn’t exist until 1932—Officer Pierre Taittinger came upon a chateau in the Champagne region when he was injured during World War I and vowed to return and buy the property if it ever became available for sale. Before Taittinger’s takeover, it was known as Forest-Fourneaux and run by a wealthy textile merchant and Benedictine monks.

There’s plenty more trivia about champagne—everything from the fun facts about the sparkling wine like Honest Cooking‘s 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Champagne or how to properly drink champagne, as explained in HuffPost Taste by Moët & Chandon.

… Even Chief Executive‘s list of 10 Best Champagnes if you feel like pretending to be extra pretentious.

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