October 20th, 2023
In a few weeks it will be my birthday again (it repeats every 12 months, right?). As this will be a big six, I anticipate with stress and worry the champagne corks "popping" around me to celebrate my humble existence. But let's be clear, it's not the celebration, nor the crowning glory of my advanced age that creates anxiety for me, but the unbearable sound of the "Champagne" cork exploding out of the bottle.
Creating and making a "Sparkling Wine" using the traditional method (aka the Champagne method) is an art of great finesse and excellence, because it takes patience and talent to integrate this precious gas into the fine wine. The role of the gas is to balance the astringency of the wine, to create a sensation of freshness and tingle, and, by the same token, to marvel at those bubbles that dance for you in the glass. But please don't fall victim to marketing and think that the foam should eject from the bottle like Niagara Falls. When you open a sparkling wine with a loud “pop” and the accompanying dramatic volcano of bubbles, it actually violently releases the gas from the wine and takes away everything that makes a sparkling wine balanced and special.
So for the love of wine and the bottle, I beg you to act with elegance and good manners and make the sound of your cork as discreet as passing an inaudible "fart" in public. From deep in my sparkling heart, thank you in advance.
- Bertil Jean-Chronberg