24 Nov Poppin’ Champagne in Reims

[caption id="attachment_2323" align="alignnone" width="660"] Mood lighting improves the champagne experience immeasurably.[/caption] The first time I popped a bottle of champagne, I was called a fraud. And by none other than my own family! It was a January Saturday night my freshman year in college, and I was recently inducted in a prominent scholarship house. I selected Zach as my “Big Brother.” He gave instructions to go with him and choose a bottle of champagne at a local wine shop. The fellow scholars were to celebrate with us later that evening, the future of the Evans Scholars. The act was a tradition within my new “family,” and I made sure I wasn’t the one to end it. I walked into the wine shop, looking for a cheap bottle of champagne. I grabbed a shiny black one with a lot of French words on it. It looked official. I strutted my stuff to the check-out counter and handed the bottle to Zach. “What’s this garbage?” Zach asked tersely. “Champagne,” I replied, proud and grinning. “Cham-pag-na,” I said next, spelling out each syllable as if I new them. “You have a lot to learn, little bro. A lot. That, Michael, is not champagne." Legally, wine labeled “champagne” must be processed within the Champagne region of France. Every country has its own laws (including the United States, which allows domestic sparkling wines to be labeled “California champagne,” further exacerbating confusion), but almost all agree champagne must come from Champagne, France. But you...

Read More