Popping a Cork: ‘The Devil’s Wine’

Mr. Wannabe Wino returns with a second installment!

Champagne has long been a favorite party drink, no doubt partly due to the theatrical nature of opening a bottle which results in a satisfying – POP! fizzle.  (Plinking an in-law with a cork from all the way across the room is only an added bonus…)  Originally created accidentally in the Champagne region of France, the effervescence was a byproduct of wine being bottled after cooler weather prematurely halted an incomplete fermentation process, which would resume with the onset of warmer weather.  With no place for the carbon dioxide produced as a fermentation byproduct to go, the pressure would cause bottles to explode, at times setting off a chain reaction sending glass shrapnel everywhere.  Twenty to ninety percent of the bottles could explode in a single cellar.  For this reason, the poor monks tending such bottles labeled the wine “le vin du diable,” or the Devil’s wine, and great efforts were undertaken to remove the offending bubbles.  Today, thankfully, the explosions only take place on our pallets, but the next time you sample a glass of your favorite champagne, spare a thought to those poor monks who risked their lives to help create such a celebratory treat.

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2 Responses

  1. Except the proper way to open a bottle of Champagne should not involve a loud POP! or a cork flying across a room. Not only is a flying cork dangerous, but it’s also bad for the wine as it is usually followed by half the Champagne flowing out of the bottle.

    But I guess it’s fun if you’re slumming it with Cook’s or Tott’s! :-)

  2. Even opening my bubbly the proper way still results in a pop for me! Though not as loud as if I do it the wrong way.

    I think Mr. Wannabe Wino is being a little tongue in cheek! :)

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