Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Uncorking a wine myth

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I enjoyed reading your Sept. 8 article Champagne wishes (including the pictures of Scarlett Johansson). Champagne is indeed the world's ultimate sparkling wine. But the article perpetuates a long-standing myth.

It states that "champagne was pioneered by a monk named Dom Perignon." Dom Perignon, in reality, tried to stop champagne from happening.

In the cold cellars of the Champagne region of 17th-century France, the bottled wine would stop fermenting in autumn. In the spring and with warmer temperatures, the bottle would start to ferment again and would often dangerously explode from the carbonation's pressure.

Dom Perignon wanted to arrest this process and not make more "champagne." The monk advanced many causes for still wine through quality control, but he certainly did not invent or pioneer champagne.

Ironically, Christopher Merritt, an English scientist, developed "la méthode champenoise" through intentional double fermentation 40 years before Dom Perignon's claim.

 

PAUL DOYLE

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 12, 2012 A6

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