Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Champagne Friday! - Riddle Me This.......


Just in time for Champagne Friday, we have just received this gorgeous vintage, French oak Champagne rack. The best part about it ? It can hold up to 120 bottles !  I admit that this piece is now mainly appreciated for it's aesthetic quality, but back in the day it actually had a very important purpose.

I was lucky enough to do a "Champagne making tour" (well technically it was a Sparkling wine making tour because it was outside of Champagne France) . It was at the Moet & Chandon winery in the Yarra Valley , Victoria, Australia.  During this informative tour I learned many interesting Champagne related facts, the first one was the correct pronunciation of 'Moet' I now know that you are supposed to pronounce the 'T'. I had always assumed Moet was a French man and had been saying it with a silent T. I have since learned that he was Dutch. Anyway, another interesting thing I discovered was about a process called 'riddling'. This is where these racks come in. (apparently, they are called 'puprites') During this stage of Champagne making the bottles are placed in the rack at a 45degree angle with the cork pointed down. Every few days the bottles are given a slight shake and turn and dropped back into the rack. (I wonder if people who do this job are called riddlers?)

 This manual way of riddling sparkling wine is still used for Prestige CuvĂ©es in Champagne, but has otherwise been largely abandoned because of the high labor costs. Mechanised riddling equipment are used instead.

So after that history lesson, I'm thirsty. Of course, I will have to make another Champagne cocktail.
This week, it's an oldie but a goodie, the Mimosa. One of the best things about this drink is that it's perfect for breakfast and will be sure to kick the day off to a great start.

(Once again, this recipe is taken from "Highballs High Heels" by Brooks, Bosker, Darmon. published by Chronicle books for Barnes & Noble) 

 Blood Orange Mimosa
Champagne Flute

2 oz  fresh blood orange juice
2 oz fresh tangerine juice
 6-8 oz well chilled Champagne

Garnish- 2 spiraling blood orange peels

1. Combine the blood orange and tangerine juice and divide the mixture between two Champagne flutes.
2. Slowly add enough of the Champagne to fill the glasses, but do not stir.
3. Drop a blood orange spiral into each drink to garnish.



  1. wow I also thought it's Moet with a silent T!thanks for letting us know, now we wont look like fools in front of experts :P

    and I believe some people (probably sommeliers) get offended if we call any sparkling wine that doesn't come from Champagne, France,...champagne.

    if you're a sparkling wine enthusiast, do try my absolute favourites; Gancia d'Asti and Moscato!

  2. oh thanks so much for the tip, I will try your favourites- it's always good to have recommendations!


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