Let us begin with the British scientist, polymath, physician, and co-founder of the Royal Society, Christopher Merret.   This is a man who made a life of studying, categorizing, and documenting things that exist in the millions, like the birds and butterflies of England.  In 1662, he presented the Royal Society with a paper called “Some Observations Concerning the Ordering of Wines”.  In his writing, he describes the intentional usage of sugar to create fizz: “Our Wine-coopers of latter times use vast quantities of Sugar and Melosses [molasses] to all sorts of Wines, to make them drink brisk [frothy] and sparkling.”  This documentation came years before the monk Dom Pérignon began experimenting with the very same method in Champagne, France.  Like watching a flock of birds take across the sky, bubbles can hold a similar curiosity that makes you stop and stare.  They have an invisible force propelling them.  To then taste the effervescence keeps the palate light and lively so that you can taste whatever new bite of food is on your fork.   More than just an aid to celebration, sparkling wine is also an excellent everyday beverage, pairing perfectly with so many different foods, moods and occasions.
For January, we propose an approach to bubbles as if it were a species.  This is a chance to experience wine as a scientist and find the importance in distinctions.  As old as wine itself, sparkling wines have a number of styles to know about: sparkling white/red/orange/rose, sweet sparkling, dry sparkling, bone dry sparkling, light body and full body.  Additionally, there are several different ways of producing sparkling wines, each of them creating a product with unique characteristics.  While they all may look the same from a distance, we hope to show you their versatility and their range of characteristics by starting with the two bottles provided.  This month, keep a pencil close by to your bottle.  You might be the one who makes a new discovery!


Photo:  "Glass Top", Beaumont Liger-Belair & Polidori – Odile Jacob,  2011