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As legend has it, the Benedictine Monk, Dom Periginon invented Champagne. That is not the whole story.
A few facts first. Champagne is 3 different things; First, it is a sparkling wine made in France. Second, It is a geographic area in France about 1 hour from Paris, and the only area where Champagne, the wine, can be produced. Finally it is a name associated with large deposits of limestone (chalk) in the earth. This deposit is present in the Champagne region, but is also found in Cognac. The Cognac region has an area referred to as Fine Champagne. These Cognacs are not made with Champagne (the drink), but the grapes used in production comes from an area which also has a large Limestone layer.
The first commercial sparkling wine was produced in the Limoux area of France about 1535. They did not invent sparkling wine, no-one knows who first made it.
Dom Perignon, the man, was born about 1638. His full name was Pierre Perignon. He was a Benedictine Monk at the Abbey of Hautville near Riems in France. Wine was already being made in the Champagne region before Pierre was born. Dom Perignon's legacy to the world was a procedure for production of Champagne. This included riddling the ageing bottles so the sediment can be removed, adding a dosage for a secondary fermentation, and use of corks to seal the bottles. These steps combined with the availabilty of stronger bottles which could hold the added pressure, allowed the commercial production of Champagne to begin in about 1700. Dom Perignon died in 1716. His famous statement "I see stars" was uttered upon his first taste of Champagne.
Dom Perignon, the Champagne, was first produced in 1936. Moet et Chandon which purchased the Abbey of Hautville 120 years earlier produced a super cuvee which celebrated the Monk's exploits. The Champagne is only produced in exceptional vintages.
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