Dom Perignon has always been reputed to be the inventor of Champagne, but is that really the case ?

A mark of respect for royal guests

The culture of the vine was born in France under the Roman occupation. In the Middle Ages, the monks took care of the viticultural culture in order to produce « the blood of the grapes essential to the Eucharist ». Wine was also a currency and a mark of respect for royal guests. The establishment of the vines therefore followed the establishment of the monasteries. We owe our greatest vintages to the Benedictines who produced Corton, Muscadet and Romanée-Conti among others. A still wine that has become sparkling In Champagne, wine has been cultivated since the Christian era and in the Middle Ages its production already enjoyed a certain reputation. But it was not the sparkling wine that we know today.

 Dom Perignon has always been reputed to be the inventor of Champagne, but is that really the case ?
Dom Perignon, inventor of Champagne ?

Devil’s wine

In 660, Saint Nivard, nephew of the good King Dagobert, founded the monastery of Saint-Pierre-d’Hautvilliers, on the right bank of the Marne, opposite Epernay. It was there that a thousand years later, a certain Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715) entered the Benedictine abbey of Hautvilliers to become cellarer ( the person in charge of the monastery cellar). To sum up, the champagne wine was not sparkling before the work of the monk Pérignon. Discovering their natural tendency to foam, he added sugar to the wine to transform it into « devil’s wine », fine and of quality.

Champagne existed in england before Dom Perignon

Dom Pérignon acquired, during his lifetime, a high reputation for the quality of his wines. But these wines were still , like all Champagne production at the time. Neither he nor his immediate successors ever hinted at any effervescence in the wines. Dom Pérignon died in 1715, and royal permission to bottle wine in Champagne was not granted until 1728. However, it is totally impossible to obtain a sparkling wine without a solid bottle and a resistant cork. Dom Pérignon could not therefore « invent » sparkling champagne. On the other hand, such wines had existed in England at least since 1660, because the « industrial » bottle had been invented there around 1625. Moreover, certain English merchants bottled the Champagne wine received in barrels, sometimes adding a little of sugar, which triggered further fermentation.

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