That trivia question always makes me smile because bubbly is so utterly decadent and fun. I’m such a fan of champagne and sparklers that an editor once called me Bubbles Melnik, and I’m happy to report that over the next two weeks we’ll be rolling out two sparkling wine grids to celebrate spring.
We live in a place that where bubbles reign. If you don’t believe me, consider this:
In a former tasting, when we pit the top California sparkers against the top champagnes from France, some of the French panelists were surprised at the results. Gregory Castells, formerly of the French Laundry in Yountville, expected any domestic wine “would be riper, perhaps fruitier and it would have less acidity,” but he found that was not always the case. George Passot, a native of Lyon, France, and the sommelier at San Francisco’s La Folie restaurant, was also impressed by the caliber of the top-scoring California sparklers. “I was surprised by how close some of the sparklers were to Champagne in quality.” The experience led fellow Frenchman Stephane Lacroix, wine director of San Francisco’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, to say wine judges and consumers alike would be wise to always be open-minded about bubbly.
To kick off our sparkling season and leave you in good cheer, here’s some bubbly trivia:
Q: Who invented champagne?
A: Contrary to the classic song in the film “Gigi,” “The Night They Invented Champagne,” bubbly was not created on one particular night, nor was the monk Dom Perignon solely responsible for its creation. The credit goes to a group of winemakers and it was over time.
Q: How many bubbles are there in a bottle of champagne?
A. The French champagne house Bollinger, in its spare time, calculated the answer: approximately 56 million.
Q: How many miles per hour does a cork fly?
A: The Office of Champagne doesn’t track this figure, but one sommelier estimates
200 mph. Anyone with a radar gun is welcome to test it.
What’s your favorite bubbly and why?