Fun Facts About the Bubbly
Article By: Cynthia Riede Feb. 12th, 2009
Many, from Napoleon to Bette Davis, have championed Champagne – vivacious, social, and elegant, it is truly one of the most pleasurable wines one can serve. The next time you pop the cork off a bottle of bubbly, consider, for a moment, these intriguing facts:
- Wine can only be labeled “champagne” if is made in the Champagne region of northeastern France. If a sparkling wine is produced elsewhere using the traditional French method, credit must be given to the “methode champenoise” on the label. The three traditional grapes used to make champagne are the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, all which grow in the region. True champagne, as opposed to other sparkling wines, has to have developed bubbles by undergoing the fermentation process twice: once in barrels and again in bottles.
- Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Hautvillers, is considered to have invented champagne. He allowed the carbon dioxide to build up in the fermentation process, thus creating bubbles.
- There are 49 million bubbles in a 750ml bottle of champagne, give or take a few, as calculated by scientist Bill Lembeck, based on 5.5 atmospheres of pressure, when stored at 20 degrees Celsius.
- The pressure in a bottle of champagne is 90 pounds per square inch, about three times that in an automobile tire.
- Legend has it that the champagne “coupe” (a shallow, broad-rimmed goblet) was modeled in the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breast, using wax moulds.
- The longest champagne cork flight in the world was 177 feet, 9 inches, set by American Heinrich Medicus in New York in 1988.
- A champagne cork leaves the bottle at a velocity of approximately 38-40 mph, but can pop out at as fast as100 mph.
- The world’s largest champagne glass, unveiled at a festival in Spoleto, Italy, stands nearly 7 feet tall, and can hold the equivalent of 22 regular bottles (558 ounces) of champagne. That’s a lot of bubbly!
- James Bond, Ian Fleming’s fictional spy character, is portrayed as a frequent drinker of champagne. A count reveals thirty-five occasions in which the character was portrayed drinking champagne in Bond films.
- Marilyn Monroe is said to have once taken a bath in the bubbly. According to her biographer, it took 350 bottles to fill the tub. Try this at home.
- The official champagne of the Titanic was Heidsieck & Co Monopole Blue Top Champagne Brut. Rumor has it that a few bottles were brought up with the salvage recently, and still tasted great.