“The wine with stars” was purported to be discovered by the monk, Dom Perignon. From 1668 to 1715 Dom Perignon was the cellarmaster at the Benedictine Abbey in Hautvilliers, a town in France’s Champagne District, where he was famous for his innovations in winemaking and his blending skills. As the discovery goes, one spring Dom Perignon was following the good winemaking practice of tasting the wines that had been fermented and bottled from the preceding fall’s harvest. During this tasting, he is reported to have discovered some bottles of wine with lots of bubbles and to have called out to his brothers, “Come quickly, I’m drinking stars!” The fact that many sparkling wine and Champagne labels are decorated with stars is no coincidence.
True or False. Using exceptionally clean glasses to drink Champagne is important?
True. Glasses for sparkling wine must be scrupulously cleaned and free of detergent residue that can cause excess foaming and strip the wine of its bubbles. Therefore, wash your Champagne glasses by hand and rinse them thoroughly. The sparkling wine should be served in a flute shaped glass so its bubbles will be displayed properly, and, unlike table wine, the glasses should be filled nearly all the way to the brim.
True or False. Most méthode champenoise sparkling wines are best if drunk within 2-3 years after they are released?
True. The méthode champenoise sparkling wines have already been aged and are ready to drink upon release by the winery, so holding on to them will not improve the quality. But some vintage and reserve sparkling wines can be enjoyed many years after release.
Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press, Peirano Estate Vineyards edition featured in 2001.