While there are many books about Champagne and sparkling wines in general, describing the bubbles and colors, there are very few that go into the history and background of this most famous celebratory drink. That's where "Champagne" comes in!

Champagne This book begins with the geology of the Champagne region, located northeast of Paris. It describes the chalk beds and limestone that forms the basis of the soil, and how these conditions are perfect for the grapes that make up Champagne.

Next, "Champagne" goes into the early history of the region, describing the various groups that fought over the soil, explaining how the conversion to Christianity of its early holders led to foundations of monastaries. These monastaries becames the curators of the vineyards, developing vineyard techniques and blending systems.

The important developments necessary for a sparkling wine are covered - the thicker bottles, the cork to seal the bottle, and of course Dom Perignon, the blind monk whose keen palate and in depth knowledge led to the beginning of a reputation for this region.

The laws over the years are covered in depth, with histories of the regulations given. The book describes purning systems and vineyard techniques, explaining how the grapes are grown. It lists the famous "Champagne widows" who furthered the cause of many wineries here.

The appendices list the members of the Union of Wine Producers, gives the Bollinger Charter of ethics and Quality, describes the seven orders in Champagne, provides a vintage chart, and gives a full list of all premiere crus.

This would definitely be the book for someone who has already gone through the "introduction to Champagne" books, and now wants an in depth history of the region, its geology, its policital background and legislative situations.

Author: Maggie McNie
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Price: $25
ISBN Number: 057117468X

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