Ah, Champagne. We adore its southeast-facing slopes, chalky soil, and the wonderful wine that it yields. But long before all the fame, fortune, and bubbles, the region — and all of France — sat beneath prehistoric waters, patiently waiting for tectonic plates to push it up to the surface.
To fully grasp Champagne’s history, we need to go back 300 million years before the first glass of wine was ever sipped. It was a time when the seven continents were nestled up against each other, forming “supercontinents,” like Pangea. As mountain ranges formed beneath the ocean, the many chunks of Pangea began to move this way and that, gradually separating over the course of eons.
Eventually, those mountains would rise, forming water basins and shallow seas around them teeming with ancient microorganisms, which would inevitably contribute to Champagne’s healthy soil once these basins drained and rose above sea level. This ancient sea bed turned rolling hills slowly transformed into the countryside of northern France, where modern-day Champagne is located and the soil quality is unparalleled for wine production.
On this episode of “Wine 101,” we’re kicking off our Champagne series with a trip back to prehistoric times to discuss how soil, tectonic plates, and lithology played a part in setting up this region for success down the line. Tune in for more.
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“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours truly, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair headquarters in New York City. I want to give a big old shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. Big shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for creating the most awesome logo for this podcast. Also, Darby Cicci for the theme song. And I want to thank the entire VinePair staff for helping me learn something new every day. See you next week.
*Image retrieved from barmalini via stock.adobe.com
The article Wine 101: Champagne: Part I Pangea and the Paris Basin appeared first on VinePair.