A Conversation for How to Make Elderflower 'Champagne'
Peregrin Started conversation Aug 24, 2001
This entry takes me back... I distinctly remember my mum helping me to make elderflower champagne every summer
We made an awful lot of it, more than you recommend for a year, but it didn't last long with me around
There is a British company which makes and sells elderflower champagne, but they've been sued by the French company that produces real Champagne, trying to stop them being allowed to call their product champagne (which I think is after a name of a place in France? Not certain). I can't remember whether they were successful or not; I hope not, elderflower champagne is a superb drink and kudos to anyone selling it (although it's much more fun to make it yourself )
stragbasher Posted Aug 24, 2001
Peregrine -possibly the french were just trying to protect their 'appellation controllee', a way of guaranteeing the origin (and hopefully the quality) of wines.
Basically Bordeaux wines can only come from Bordeaux, Champagne from Champagne, Armagnac (made from wine) from Armagnac and so forth. This means that, in theory, buyers always know what they're getting. The alternative is for people to accidentally buy Asti Spumante when what they really need is Dom Perignon. Of course there are some really nasty wines from regions with protected names as well, but I think that generally the right to use a 'quality' name is reserved for wines meeting the local taste criteria.
I don't know for sure how this stacks up against the EUs directive forbidding discrimination on the grounds of nationality, but I have a feeling that there was some kind of accomodation reached for 'sparkling wines' made by the methode champagnoise. The elderflower champagne described above is a) yummy, and b) fermented in the bottle so it passes the quality test in my book. I'm not familiar with the commercial stuff, but if it was fermented in a vat (like many of the cheap and nasty sparkling wines) then maybe that was the problem. (Bottle fermented results in smaller, more exciting, bubbles.)
Here's how to find out the result of the court case:
Go out and buy a bottle of the elderflower champagne in question. Look at the label to see if it says 'champagne'. If it does then they won their defence and you should toast their success. If it says something like 'champagne-style sparkling wine', or has no reference to champagne at all, then they lost and are counting on your continued business to avoid bankruptcy. So drink to their prosperous future.
Next, have a drink to reward yourself for doing a particularly arduous piece of research. The bottle is now woefully depleted and must be emptied to avoid losing its fizz. Call a friend to come and help you, and suggest that they pick up another bottle in case you run out.......
Güthwinë Posted Aug 25, 2001
Exxxxcellent article. I adore everything elder... this is something I have not yet sampled. But I can imagine it in my mind, and it's an exciting thought!
I'm going to have to try this next time summer rolls around.
Kenrick Posted Aug 28, 2001
I just went into the garage today and the elder flowers must have had some particulary active yeast on them as some of the bottles had exploded with the pressure spraying the champagne everywhere!
These were your average 2-litre plastic drinks bottles.
Peregrin Posted Sep 4, 2001
Ah yes, the pressure can be a bit of a problem!
I suppose you could release the pressure on particularly dangerous looking ones every now and then.
A couple of weeks ago I was running to catch a train at Southampton station, and when I got there found it hadn't arrived anyway, so sat down to have a drink out of a bottle of Fanta that I had in my bag. It didn't occur to me that running around with it might not have done it much good, so when I opened it, it made a loud BANG! like a gunshot and the cap fired itself most of the way along the platform
Kenrick Posted Sep 5, 2001
Peregrin Posted Sep 5, 2001
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