You may be able to toast good health with a flute of champagne if you are an adult with disability and no risk factors related to alcohol. Recent research suggests that champagne, like still red wine, may have a positive effect upon cardiac function when consumed in appropriate amounts. This information, published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" (2010), has important implications for people with disability; cardiovascular disease is one of the most frequent causes of disability in American adults. When selecting champagne, consider the impact of its sugar content on diabetes and other medical conditions. Also give thought to the interaction of alcohol and medication. Champagne's sugar content, in ascending order, is: Natural Brut, Extra Brut, Extra Dry, Extra Sec, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux.
A 17th century English scientist, Christopher Merret, added sugar to still wine and created the first sparkling wine. Advances in English glass contributed to the success of Merret's experiment because bottles were now strong enough to withstand the effects of fermentation without exploding. Interestingly, the popular association of champagne with "high living" appears attributable to another Englishman, Joe Saunders. Known professionally as George Leybourne, Saunders wrote the song "Champagne Charlie" with Albert Lee. In 1866, Saunders sang this song in Canterbury Hall while drinking from a bottle of Moet champagne. Saunder's flamboyant performance attracted widespread attention that was further enhanced by his flamboyant public behavior.
Champagne is distinguished from other sparkling wines by two basic factors: grapes and fermentation. Grapes for authentic champagne are harvested in Champagne,a northeastern area in France. A two-step fermentation process is required. The second fermentation occurs in the bottle from which the champagne will be consumed. Non-vintage champagne is fermented for a minimum period of 15 months, while vintage champagne is fermented for a minimum of three years. Vintage champagnes are often fermented for much longer periods. The best champagne comes from grapes that are grown in carefully cultivated vineyards.Some experts suggest that champagne achieves its highest quality when single winemakers control the entire process of production, from cultivation to sale. Champagne produced under these conditions is known as recoltant-maipulant, and identified by the letters "RM" on the bottle's label.