“Brothers, come quickly! I’m drinking stars!” That’s what the monk screamed throughout the Benedictine abbey after he tasted his new discovery – Champagne. The monk’s name? Dom Pérignon.
And now: Dom’s bubbly secret is a beloved drink of celebration all over the world. This effervescent alcohol is the most popular refreshment for making merry, and it is easy to see why:
1. Champagne indicates a celebration. If you are sipping from a flute of champagne, chances are that you are experiencing one of life’s happy moments: weddings, birthdays and holidays. Champagne is a drink of jubilation that shows up when warm memories are being made.
2. The pop! When you hear a champagne cork POP, it immediately lifts your spirits and signals to your brain that a party is about to go down. There is perhaps no sweeter sound in the universe than that of a cork popping!
3. The bubbles! Rising mysteriously in every glass of champagne are infinite streams of tiny perfect bubbles, running upwards like they don’t want to be late to the show. If you like lots of bubbles, always wash and dry your champagne flutes by hand – microscopic fibers from the towels “snag” the champagne and create more bubbles.
4. The toast! Clink-clink-clink: your attention please! No beverage goes with the traditional “toast” like a glass of champagne. Whether you are saluting the New Year or some other fresh beginning, honor it with bubbles for a truly memorable occasion.
5. You can go there. Champagne isn’t just a fabulous drink, but is also a beautiful region of France, located a couple of hours east of Paris. Rich in history, the area is also chock full of champagne vineyards and cellars, and the people who live there drink champagne all year round. C’est la vie!
6. Champagne is slimming. While no diet drink, a glass of champagne still has fewer calories (90) than almost all other alcoholic beverages. Plus, the slender, vertical champagne flute works as an accessory to slim you down while you are holding it – and everyone looks like they are having a good time when they have a glass of champagne in their hand.
7. The history. Even today, every bottle of champagne ever produced is turned by hand several times while it comes to fruition. Many bottles of champagne ferment in giant chalk pits carved by the Romans almost two thousand years ago. Pictures, games and graffiti are carved into the soft chalk on some of the cellars by people as they hid underground during German raids of World War II.
8. Champagne is special. Sparkling wine and champagne are two very different animals. True champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France; the chalky soil of the region is found nowhere else on earth and drains moisture in a special way that produces the pretty round champagne grapes. Champagne first grew to popularity because French royals sipped it, and it still retains an air of luxury and power.
9. Champagne is healthy! Just like other wines, champagne is a great source of polyphenols, which contain antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and remove toxic chemicals from the body. They also protect the mind against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s by preventing the deterioration of brain cells due to oxidative stress. Just remember: moderation is the key.
10. Fantastic organic champagne is available. Many vineyards in France are now growing organic grapes and producing lovely bottles from them. Check out the Champagne Carte d’Or Brut from Serge Faust (certified organic since 1969) or the fun pink Champagne Cuvé Rubis Brut Rosé from boutique vineyard Vilmart & Cie.