21/06/2018 by Great British Wine Shop 0 Comments
So the French invented Sparkling Wine...
OH NO THEY DIDN'T.
HERE'S THE TRUTH.
In 1697 Dom Perignon created a second fermentation which led to the creation of sparkling champagne, well maybe he did, maybe he didn't, either way he certainly wasn't the first, indeed there is no actual proof of him ever producing a bottle, and no records of sparkling champagne until 1718. Far from the french wishing to create abubbly they were still convinced bubbles were bad for the wine and as such (Dom Perignon included) were actively trying to eradicate bubbles from the process.
It is true that the UK did have Vinyards in the 16 and17 centuries, just not many, it is also true that the UK did import wine from France, just not sparkling.
The wine the UK imported was in casks the French preference was always for casks and indeed the poor quality of French glass meant early attempts to produce their sparkling wine would constantly explode and destroy the bottle.
Admiral Sir Robert Mansell
At his glass works in Newcastle sir Robert found that substituting coal for coke created a much tougher glass and as such bottles which could withstand high pressure, this patent was 1615.
English wine coopers could now create the first Sparkling Wine Method, of a second fermentation in the bottle, also using cork from Portugal we could control the pressure.
The French were still using wood and cloth as bungs for their bottles well into the 18 century.
Christopher Merret was a scientist, physician and a founding member of the Royal Society,
and the man from whom we get the first reference to sparkling wine in his paper entitled The Order Of Wines.
Christopher Merret put this document to the Royal Society in 1662 in which he explains the second fermentation which with adding extra sugar to the wine gives it a refreshing bubbly quality.
Sir George Etherege
The first menton of sparkling champagne was by Sir George in his drama The Man In The Mode 1676 some 20 years before Dom Perignon when he wrote
"Then sparkling champagne puts an end to thei reign"
We had obviously taken a cask of sill white wine from the region and fizzed the life into it.
Now Hail The Uk Wine Producers.
Over the last 20 or so years the UK has been producing some of the finest Wines in the world, not just competing with but beating champagne at its own (sorry OUR) own game.
Sparkling Wine has finally come HOME.