“But First, Champagne” is a Must Read
“But First, Champagne” 6 Word Book Review: Expert or Beginner, Excellent Bookshelf Addition!
But First, Champagne is a new book on everyone’s favorite sparkling subject. David White, the driving force behind the excellent wine news aggregator blog Terroirist, has a deep abiding love for Champagne. I was lucky enough to snag a review copy just before leaving for a vacation in France. This was great vacation reading!
David’s new book has something for every wine enthusiast from the Champagne beginner to the expert. In true book report fashion, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect in the way of the 5 W’s we learned in junior high: Who, What, When, Where, Why
(click on any photo for slide show, escape to return)
Who: Marque Houses and Grower Champagne
When most of us think of Champagne we think of the big Luxury Brand Names like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and indeed, they produce the large majority of Champagne available in our market. Recently, a growing number of Champagne farmers have started to make their own wine. These wines can show more individual character. The book explains the history and background of the Marque houses and how the grower revolution started. Did you know there’s a secret code that will help you unlock the source of any bottle? Read the book and find out!
What: What Makes Champagne
Experts know, but beginners will appreciate a thorough explanation of the process of making Champagne. The required grapes, how do they get the bubbles in, etc… This information is surprisingly useful and now you’ll know more about how to read a bottle label!
When: History of Champagne
The history of Champagne is the history of France, both due to the region’s location between the rest of Europe and Paris, and in part due to the fondness for Champagne from French, English, German and Russian royalty. The history isn’t all “I see stars” from Dom Perignon, the history of France is quite bloody, and unfortunately the poor farmers in the region were stuck in the middle of it. Still, it is a compelling story, well told in this book.
Where: The Champagne Region
The various regions are difficult to understand, the map in the book helps you begin unraveling the mystery.
Why: Why Do We Drink Champagne?
OK, this part seems self-explanatory, but you’ll be surprised what you can find as you explore different house styles, terroirs, grape combinations.
How Much: Help Me Shop!
The back half of the book serves as a great reference for both Marquee Houses and Grower Champagnes. There is an extensive list of houses with Champagnes of note and even typical prices. Super useful as you dig deeper in your quest for Champagne knowledge and experience.
But First, Champagne will be a nice edition to any wine enthusiasts’ bookcase!
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book. All Champagne photos are wines I purchased, all opinions are mine.