You might only enjoy Champagne at New Year’s Eve celebrations, or you might be a bottomless mimosa aficionado. Maybe you can’t afford the “good” stuff that earned its capital C by getting made in Champagne, France, but the other sparkling wines of the world certainly hit the spot just as well after a long week or even longer year. Here are few facts about the world’s classiest beverage.
1. A Standard Bottle Of Champagne (750ml) Has Roughly 49 million Bubbles
By stimulating your pyloric valve, all that fizz helps the alcohol get absorbed into your small intestine faster, so try pacing yourself.
You can also judge the quality of the Champagne by its plentiful bubbles; the tinier they are, the better the wine should taste.
2. A Champagne Cork Once Flew 177 Feet 9 Inches
The cork burst out of the bottle about four feet above the ground at Woodbury Vineyards in New York. Luckily, no one was injured during the feat.
3. Raisins Can Revive Nearly Flat Champagne
If you notice the bubbles are fizzing out, drop a raisin into your bottle (this works with other sparkling wines too). The remaining carbon dioxide in the bottle will cling to the raisin’s ridges, creating tiny gas bubbles that are then released back into the beverage.
One raisin is all you need to create an alcoholic geyser. For added sorcery, place a raisin into a glass of Champagne to watch it rise and fall, pushed around by this simple chemical reaction.
4. Marilyn Monroe Took A Bath In 350 Bottles Worth Of Champagne
The American bombshell gained a reputation for extravagance over the course of her career, second only, perhaps, to Elizabeth Taylor. Since that many bottles (262.5 liters worth) would fill the average empty bathtub to the brim, it’s safe to assume Monroe was in a larger tub, more suitable to her celebrity status. Otherwise, that would have been one expensive clean-up.
5. You Should Drink Champagne Out Of A White Wine Glass
Traditional coupe glasses (supposedly modeled after Marie Antoinette’s breast) make champagne go flat and flavorless pretty quickly. Flutes preserve the bubbles, but the narrow rim limits the aromatics, diminishing a huge part of the tasting process.
Though white wine glasses can have similar problems to the coupe, they’re the closest thing in your cupboard to official (often expensive) champagne glasses that lie between a white wine glass and a flute in design.
6. Champagne’s Roots Lie In England, Not France
Since the early days of winemaking, some bottles would spontaneously go through secondary fermentation during storage, causing them to explode.
English physician Christopher Merret was the first person to document the carbonation process that makes Champagne possible, a few decades before French monk Dom Perignon accidentally discovered it.
Merret went on to help winemakers create bottles that were strong enough to withstand the pressure created by sparkling wines. Some wine experts (of various nationalities) maintain that the French stole Merret’s work and applied it to their processes.
7. Any Light Will Change The Flavor Palate of Champagne In Less Than Two Hours
In case you were wondering why Champagne gets stored in cellars, despite its need to be chilled, or why the bottles use dark glass, light is to blame.
Sunlight and fluorescent light seem to do the worst damage, but storing Champagne in any well-lit area will transform its aroma and flavor to a skunkier variety.
8. Champagne Can Be Stored Upright
Champagne doesn’t really age, so there’s no need to store it unless you have a rare bottle or like to stockpile a specific brand. If you’re holding onto a particular bottle for a special occasion, feel free to store it horizontally, to keep the cork moist. If you plan on popping that cork within a few months, however, the bottle can stand until you’re ready for it.