Saturday, 30 April 2016

CHAMPAGNE - THE GOLDEN AGE

Luck is unreliable! Truth is unbelievable! And reality unknowable. Then there is Champagne. Strangely it combines the unreliability of luck, the ignorance of reality, and it is the most potent truth  serum in the world because a detector of lies will only encourage you lie more successfully.

Champagne needs luck, though it can't rely on it, to be so unbelievably good, hidden behind the curtain of enigma.

Champagne as we know it, is not an old age thing, it is fairly new in the world of wine. But I am not here to address the past but to look into to the future.

What many of us don't realise that we do live in, perhaps the second*, Golden Age of Champagne. Champagne now combines not only the viticultural expertise of around 200 hundred years of trial and error (method of learning, I, unofficially, deem as the most expensive ever - yes, I learnt from my own experience), advances not only in technology which unreservedly are now practiced in Champagne as a given (the likes of giro palettes, and more importantly the invention of puppitres which was no miracle but an act of genius), the resilience of the spirit of the champenois people (both the wars and Champagne was right in the centre of it all as well as the Champagne revolt), their adaptability and zeal has always shaken off the horrors of the past to persevere to make the best drink, or more simply to make Champagne, the science which combined with the intuitive knowledge accrued over the 200 years, the trends which has gone and some have stayed and, perhaps, some are returning. And that is not all!

The luck of the 90s and the success of the naughties. The stock in the cellars takes usually 3-6 to deplete, and in contemporary times that is a long long long time (just think how many new phones with new cameras were released in 3-6 years, and how many system updates we faced - the frustrations!)

It is true that the global warming has an impact to an extent and it is very likely that we will be experiencing considerably more and more warmer years and bigger, perhaps more stressed vintages, but we mustn't overlooked that Champagne is still the most northern wine region of France and snow, hale, frosts, storms are very normal in that part of the world and that's were luck comes to play its most important part. Although validated by intuition and now scientific records, plus the creativity and adaptability of the people that make it, the wine of Champagne is now at its absolute best. And it looks like it is going to be for another decade. And then?

and then.... re-read this article and engage your brain, because to enjoy Champagne you need brain, not a phone app.

* I said 'second' in reference to The Golden Age, although in my time I am convinced that that is my first, but historically the first Golden Age from my perspective would be the beginning of the 20th century - belle epoque, Maxim's, Perrier Jouet, Pommery, Alfons Mucha, the roaring 20's and many other names and phrases synonymous with that period. I did not live then, so I can't really pass a valid judgement, but I am happy to instill a healthy doubt to my point anyway.

THINK, DRINK, BELIEVE CHAMPAGNE!

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