HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine to effect carbonation. It is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, from which it takes its name.
The primary grapes used in the production of Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier. Through international treaty, national law or quality-control/consumer protection related local regulations, most countries limit the use of the term to only those wines that come from the Champagne appellation. In Europe, this principle is enshrined in the European Union by Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Other countries, such as the United States, have recognized the exclusive nature of this name, yet maintain a legal structure that allows certain domestic producers of sparkling wine to continue to use the term "champagne" under limited circumstances. The majority of US produced sparkling wines do not use the term "champagne" on their labels and some states, such as Oregon, ban producers in their states from using the term as it can be confusing to consumers.
Champagne first gained world renown because of its association with the anointment of French kings. Royalty from throughout Europe spread the message of the unique sparkling wine from Champagne and its association with luxury and power. The leading manufacturers devoted considerable energy to creating a history and identity for their wine, associating it and themselves with nobility and royalty. Through advertising and packaging they sought to associate Champagne with high luxury, festivities and rites of passage. Their efforts coincided with an emerging middle class that was looking for ways to spend its money on symbols of upward mobility.
Ha! That's really funny!
I never knew that Champagne's luxurious mystique was by and large manufactured as an advertising scheme, and that class-conscious elitist bourgeois assholes fell for it hook line and sinker. Sometimes I really do feel like I've figured out how the world works. Kind of reminds me of the first and only time I've had Dom Pérignon: it was good, but not knock-yer-socks-off; on the other hand, maybe I just didn't like the rich white people who had their black servants pour it for me.
At any rate, I won't be drinking Dom tonight, or even Champagne, for that matter. But I will be imbibing some domestic bubbly, something I found at the grocery store for cheap called "Barefoot Bubbly":
The back label says:
Our Bubbly Chardonnay is refreshing with a tasteful balance of tart green apples and sweet honey. The clean, bright, and palate-pleasing flavors finish on a smooth, sparkling note.Well, I guess we'll see about that. Really, I bought it because I like the packaging. It's sad, but for a waiter, I don't know a damned thing about wine. Neither do the people I wait on, but that's another story.
Anyway, Happy New Year. I'm really glad to be leaving this shitty decade behind.
NEW YEAR'S BONUS: Go check out This Modern World's 2009 year in review; it's fucking funny. Part one here. Part two here.