Friday, December 16, 2016

The Victorian Love Affair with Champagne

Sherlock Hound recommends:

Edward VII, while still Prince of Wales, is credited with having popularized champagne in England.  Edward preferred light Chablis and extra dry champagne, and these were produced specially for the English market, with spectacular results.  In 1861, some three million bottles of champagne were exported from France to England.  By 1890, England was importing over nine million bottles of French champagne annually, almost half of all of the champagne being produced.

Champagne is at its very best from seven to ten years after bottling.  After that, except in very exceptional years, it will not stand up well. 

In Victorian times, the Imperial pint (60 centilitres) was the ideal size for a temperate man who might consider that a bottle of champagne with his meal was just a little more than he wanted, but who would not be satisfied with a half bottle.  Provisions were made, however, for varying degrees of satisfaction:

Demie:  ½ bottle

Bottle:  One bottle

Magnum:  Two bottles

Jeroboam:  Four bottles

Rehoboam:  Six bottles

Methuselah:  Eight bottles

Salmanazar:  Twelve bottles

Balthazar:  Sixteen bottles

Nebuchadnezzar:  Twenty bottles

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