The “Riddle” of Champagne

riddling rack

riddling rack sign

My champagne bottles are so happy to have a place to rest…120 bottle riddling rack from Epernay, France.

The Riddling Rack was invented by Madame Nicole-Barbe Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot) in 1816.  Recognizing that her champagne would be much more appealing without all of the sediment swimming around in the bottle, she set out to make a crystal-clear champagne.  Her first rack was just holes cut into her kitchen table. Knowing that the sediment had to go somewhere she forced it into the neck of the bottle by following these steps which we now recognize as “riddling”:

  1.  Every one to three days grab the bottom of the bottle and give the bottle a little shake. Then give it a hearty twist.
  2. Drop the bottle back in the riddling rack with just a bit more angle to the bottle. This process was done by hand for years and is still done by hand in some of the Prestige Cuvées houses. Due to the high cost of manual labor many champagne houses use machines these days to complete the riddling process.
  3. After several weeks the neck of the bottle(where the sediment has gathered) is frozen which forms a “plug” which has to be removed from the bottle. The process of removing the plug is known as dégorgement.
  4. The final step is the corking and labeling of the champagne.

champagnechampagne pour

The House of Ruinart is the first established champagne house in 1729.  I love everything about this fabulous champagne.  Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Rosé are equally sparkly and magical. For those who think they do not like champagne, please try this one – it will surprise and delight you with it delicacy, tiny consistent bubbles, toasty notes, fine mousse and long finish.  The unique shape of its bottle is a tribute to the historic bottles of the eighteenth century.

champagne toast

Warm weather has finally arrived in Roanoke, Virginia…celebrating this happy bubbly day with champagne on the deck!

Wine Thought Of The Day:  Cabernet Sauvignon loves fat and proteins, pairing classically with meat – the redder the better. If you’re a vegetarian, fear not, it also pairs well with bitter vegetables like eggplant, arugula, and radicchio. 




  1. Christina Nifong says:

    How interesting, Becky! I had no idea. I was just talking champagne with someone the other day and leaning heavily on all I’ve learned from you! 🙂


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