Sparkling wines are made throughout the winemaking world. France is the most obvious example with the famous products from the Champagne regions of Reims and Epernay. The knowledge of sparkling wine has been around since antiquity but was considered, for a long time, as a faulty wine. An English scientist named Christopher Merret documented the process of adding sugar during fermentation creating sparkling wine in the mid 1600s. Whereas the first recorded sparkling wines in the French region of Limoux are from 1531.
Today the champagne method of making sparkling is called méthode champenoise. This name is only applied to sparkling wine under Champagne restriction. Under EU laws, if this method is used outside of the Champagne controls is called méthode traditionnelle. The Champagne method involves disgorgement or removing the non-soluble elements or ‘lees’ from the wine to make it clear. The size and consistency of the bubbles in a glass of Champagne can be an indicator of quality. Steady steams of small bubbles are desirable.
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