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Q: Did Dom Perignon invent Champagne?
A: I was always under the impression that this was true. Recently I discovered that this was not so. It was an Englishman!
The quote attributed to Perignon—
Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!
—is supposedly what he said when tasting the first sparkling champagne. However, the first appearance of that quote appears to have been in a print advertisement in the late 19th century. So it seems that this was just advertising spin! I still love the quote and so romantically I’ll stick with it.
However while the monk did work tirelessly and successfully to improve the quality and renown of the still wines of Champagne, he did not invent sparkling wine, nor was he the first to make champagne. Indeed he worked hard to prevent a secondary fermentation which was seen as a fault and most likely to break the wine bottles. There is documentary evidence that sparkling wine was first intentionally produced by contemporary English scientist and physician Christopher Merret.