this is the elaborated version of a post made on a
none of whom was able to propose a solution !
I have to say
to excuse them that they are almost all
would-be "ornamental" tyers and so not what I would dare to
call well versed in
good bit (in particular the hemp "muselet" bit) of the
historical background I unashamedly plagiarized from
good site of MAISONS-CHAMPAGNE and
from other resources on the Web.
The ENGLISH LANGUAGE VERSION.
you don't want the verbiage on the historic background (you will then
less not useless but "without immediate
use" knowledge : we call it culture here
in "old civilized
Europe") just go down to the bluish
We were approaching "feasts" atthe moment the post was done (just
before 2008 Nov
27th USA Thanksgiving) :
I though then that it was a good moment to put up some PR for a special
CHAMPAGNE affectionately known as CHAMPAGNE
There are several wines made using : "méthode champenoise
" or "méthode traditionelle" but by law only small parcels of
vineyards in the TERROIR
CHAMPAGNE ( eponymous naming for the wine ) can
boast the official
. ( A perfumer was brought to Justice and condemned to reparation for
having called called
his new product by the name of Champagne).
Best Champagne(s) are the one having the label "Grand
Cru" which is rate as being above the numerous "Premier Cru".
A bottle of Champagne before standing on your table
has been the object of many caresand those
specialized cares cost a lot of
Champagne is a premium quality product *not to
be confused* with any other sparkling wines of *any origin* be it from
France or elsewhere on this planet.
We do "vins de terroirs" that is wines "attached" to a special "area of
soil" while Australia, Swiss, USA and other make "vins de cépages" (
wine attached to a type of grapes ).
I have had the luck to drink outstanding Australian wines, so I am not
I have fond memories of some outstanding
( My preferred English "wine" is whisky coming from the
beautiful patch of paradise
that The Isle of Skyes is.)
Method for putting the cork stopper is the same for Champagne, Crémant
( a whole lot
of them : ALSACE - BORDEAUX - BOURGOGNE (
lineage is from there) - CHAMPAGNE - DIE - JURA - LIMOUX -
and in memory of my Mother who was very fond of it : Vin
mousseux du BUGEY .
France have a whole lot of sparkling wine but none has the
All those sparkling wines are Blanc/white or Rosé/ pink and one is
rouge / red (a sparkling Bourgogne / Burgundy)
(even for " cidre
bouché ", high quality sparkling cider : have seen some
' cidre bouché ' exploding too, but with a bit less force
Cider from Normandy it will be for me if you please ( paternal lineage
there), Brittany do cider too and I have been known to drink
Stopper is maintained by a wire cage called a "muselet" (just like a
muselière ( muzzle strap used to prevent a dog from biting ),
preventing the cork stopper
ejection under gases pressure (5 to 6 kg
per square centimetre )
know that in the 17th Century the Champagne was know as "
WINE" and that it took a monk to tame it.
Reason was it was quite apt at making bottles explode, disfiguring and
(seems they had to have a metal mask as old knights had when
going in the caves ) till the time DOM PERIGNON (a DOMinican
monk) made use of
wall bottle invented by, of all nations ! an English glass blower. (do
that there were vineyards in UK once ?)
Well it was not the first meddling of our "best enemy" in our Champagne
de France as
it was at the English consumers insistence that Champagne
"BRUT" was created in
Usual at the time was dry ( "sec") and medium
"Millésime", or putting the "year" as a special
marking, was created for Champagne
only in 1906.
So don't make the blunder to speak of a pre-1906
Champagne was definitely crowned "the special occasion wine" in 1654
(June 7th) at
The future Sun King (Louis XIV ), coronation as king of
Paradoxically it was also the wine that the French Revolutionaries
for them on 1790 July 14th celebrations (first
anniversary of the taking of La Bastille)
First stopper for wine bottles were "hemp" tangles, oiled .
(hence the old tradition - how the human brain can run in ruts with
ease ! -
of always putting the first drops of a bottle in the Master of the
House's glass :
he gets the drop of oil )
This hemp stopper was replaced by a peg of wood with oiled rags around
(as we still do for "tonneau" / "cask of wine).
At that time Champagne (but it could not keep its sparkling character
very long) ,
bottles were stopped by a wood peg in a piece of flax
LINen (a pleonasm for a French
as flax = lin ) sealed with wax.
Dom Pérignon made a "lasting sparkle" possible.
To keep the stopper
in place while fermentation was happening it was
(hand tied till
the middle of 19th) with a piece of hemp twine (
But hemp was attacked by mould and the stopper ejected in time so they
the habit of adding a piece of wire but that posed problems at the
To "keep" the wine in an unaltered condition Dom Pérignon went from
hemp stopper to cork stopper tied with oiled hemp twine.
Legend has it that
it was by observing how the Saint Jacques de
monks closed their gourds that he
got the idea.
Despite Dom Pérignon efforts to discover the fullness of the secret of
reproducible fermentation the world had to wait the great
PASTEUR discoveries to
fully understand this fermentation process.
In 1735 a Royal Edict made the hemp twine tying compulsory : the first
of the "stopper", of the way corks have to obey very stringent
specifications not for whim but
from technical considerations
The Champagne cork stopper is conical (other wine's are cylindrical)
and with a very
Each parts of this stopper has a special name.
Mainly it is in two parts:
-- the "head" / "la tête" ( sometimes call "the handle" / "le
manche") is in a lesser
quality of cork as it is not in direct contact with the wine.
-- "the body" / "le corps" which is made of two roundel a "bulk cork"
of the finest grade.
Cork used at the beginning of the practice was twice in diameter what
the opening in
the bottle neck was and it had to be (literally)
"clobbered inside" with a "batte" what
would be now likened to a
baseball bat (same pronunciation as "batte").
Latter the small metal round cover was added on the cork.
for this metal cover was taken in 1844, in 1850 it was the wire
that appeared and by 1881 it was general practice for
December 1rst :
issue (December N°1095) of SCIENCES & VIE monthly magazine in
110-112 answers the question "why bubbles appear in Champagne?"
course there is a question of pressure and CO2
content ( 5 litres of
CO2 are in
solution in a 3/4 litre bottle of Champagne under a pressure
of 6 bars.
When the bottle is opened pressure inside goes suddenly from 6 to 1 bar
(the atmospheric pressure).This
really brutal phase transition makes 80% of the gases
go in the
atmosphere, the remaining 20% stay in the liquid , ready to make
IFF (if and only if) the parameters are right for them to
become free and appear as
Paradoxically an ultra-clean glass absolutely devoid of any
its surface will
not give rise to bubbles.
Bubbles will appear ONLY IF THE GLASS IS ""DIRTY"" :
small foreign particles of irregular shape on its surface ( lint fibre,
chalk... ) are
"PRIMER FOR THE BUBBLING".
They will start the "bubbles elevator".
poured in the glass the liquid cannot get in all the microscopic nooks
crannies in the foreign particles in which remain ultra-small
bubble of trapped
THAT IS THE STARTING POINT!
there the CO2 will find a way out to go not ballistic but sparkling.
The CO2 goes in the "air bubble seed" and makes
it grow till it is big
detach itself from the foreign particle.
Archimedean push the bubble ascend and when it ascend, pressure lessen
and volume of bubble grow (simple problem well know by scuba divers)
a micrometer they go to millimetre size and up and up and up
they are at the surface. There the surface tension is not enough
to maintain the
integrity of the bubble which then burst liberating
A perfectly clean glass in a sterile atmosphere will keep the best
tranquil as any still white wine.
So one conclusion :
the washing-machine and prefer to hand wash and hand dry with linen
Champagne glasses (please, please, please no open coupe / cup
- they are too
shallow and too open - which are heretical in my
opinion, but a nice elegant "flûte"
- often too narrow for real
appreciation of aromas - or best, [even
if some will raise
an eyebrow just like when seeing me tasting a goat cheese
with a white wine instead of with
classical red ; just try it
- one good and safe rule that always worked for me : "you may mix
product of a terroir with the wines coming from that same terroir ! " ]:
a crystal white wine glass, Champagne IS white wine you know ) end of addition
Hope all this was not served too much in disarray.
for the quiz itself :
the "muselet" is made with wire but when it was first though of it
a knot was needed, that till the middle of 19th .
(note : a 1993
prestigious "cuvée" had the distinct mark of having a hemp twine
muselet ; seems that some recent others had that too )
WILL YOU proceed to put an oiled hemp muselet
on a bottle
all the while
complying with two constraints :
it must stay in place and maintained the cork stopper which is
pushed out by
-- it must be "economically efficient" : speedily put in place and
length of twine ?
Show off with "sparkling knowledge"
solution given here is in my opinion
as its seems to me impossible to
go from fig 3 to fig 4.
(note : mistakes in
artist representation of
knotting are a constant in knots books since
the first one was
published so don't be too prompt to be mocking : THEIR
JOB IS MAKING CHAMPAGNE, NOT KNOTTING, AND THEIR JOB THEY DO
Thanks to Maison du Champagne
for a venial mistake (that
no one has spotted before I did despite 50
visitors per month ! a stupendous score)
that was the occasion for me
of much pleasure in putting a new topic in my pages, and I hope for you
readers with the chase it send you onto.
be a tradition
with illustrators and publication of knots diagrams : from the
first publication illustrators sabotaged the crossings !
worst point (not in this particular case that
is just an illustration of the general) is that no
(and anywhere) seems to be in charge of proofing knots diagrams by
making the said knots "in the cordage" !
is not rocket science , yet .....
Less than 24h
after having been advised they put this
rectified illustration on line.
An hitch is what I call a "null knot"
: a knot that will
disappear into the simple length
of cordage it was made of if you take
off its "prop".
This particular hitch is made "solid" by putting the marlinespike in
"almost" the same plane as the whole of the cordage.
On a 2D drawing the marlinespike is on the same plane as the cordage
and the spike goes O1 U1 O1 or U1 O1 U1 if you see it on the
The neck of the bottle goes U1 O2 ( or O1 U2 if you see it on the other
Here the bottle neck is perpendicular to the plane of the cordage that
has been folded
along the middle part of cordage and only one "hole" is
used to pass the bottle neck
through while the marlinspike goes through
the two "holes".
I think that the faulty illustration is trying to illustrate an
"otherwise" used marlinspike, and that is quite a surprise as this was
from landlubbers dwelling many hundreds miles from any coast.