Chin Chin Eccentrics everywhere! It’s Champagne time.
Eccentrics everywhere should congratulate themselves on the impact we have had on the creation of so many splendid pastimes & pleasures.
Take Champagne as an example.
The wines of Champagne have existed since the 9th Century. However for centuries The Vineyards of the Abbeys & Convents of Champagne fought a tireless battle to rid the wine of Champagne of the devilish bubbles which blighted its perfection so much they referred to it as Le Vin Du Diable!
The Eccentric English across The Channel were quite singular in delighting in the wine’s bubbly flaw. We were thrilled by the gaiety of the naughty bubbles that tickled our noses & our fancy.
So while the Abbeys & Convents of Champagne battled tirelessly across the centuries to eradicate The Devils’s Bubbles they considered ruinous to the perfect calm required to savour the flavour of the wine.
While the French battled with the with its Devilish Bubbles – English Society revelled in the wine’s of Champagne’s wickedness choosing it as our preferred drink for Celebrations.
It wasn’t until 1662 that Dom Perignon finally won the battle to rid Champagne’s wine of the sinister bubbles, declaring, “I’ve tasted the stars” to describe the calm serenity of his perfectly still assemblage of the three grape varieties.
The wine growers of Champagne may have danced for joy at Perignon’s victory in ridding Champagne’s wine of its pesky bubbles, but the English continued to party on with the bubbly “Le Vin Du Diable”.
In 1662 when the British celebrated the marriage of King Charles II & his eccentric cross-dressing Queen Catherine of Braganza, the fountains of London flowed with the Devilish Champagne for a full fortnight as they had in 1660 upon the Restoration of King Charles II to the throne.
Reading texts of this era, it is clear that the English were singular in their love of bubbles in Champagne & the Eccentric English who set the trend amongst the beau monde for toasting celebrations with devilish bubbles of Champagne rather than the wines of Burgundy which even the Abbeys & Convents of Champagne considered superior.
It was the rapid rise in the power of Britain in the 1660’s due to its new found position as the wealthiest city in Europe in which Eccentrics held sway.
Due to Marriage of their merry monarch to the tolerant eccentric and wealthy Queen Catherine and specifically her ownership of the Great Port Cities of Bombay & Tangiers, which enabled the British East India Company access to the exotic luxury goods of South America & Asia. Catherine’s own idea to set up plantations to grow tea in India & her trade agreements with South America led to London becoming the most exciting & fashionable place to be in the world in the 1660’s.
Every Mansion in the kingdom was hosting intellectual salons fuelled by fine bone cups cups of tea & cut glass crystal saucers of bubbly champagne – so drinkers could enjoy the thrilling sight of the wicked bubbles – rising up the glass in infinite streams of delight.
After the dark days of abstinence & artistic repression of Cromwell, England was celebrating Science, ideas, art, proto-feminism and singing & dancing & attending the newly built theatres & opera houses on a never ending stream of bubbles.
But the real larks were being held in private salons hosted by women over cups of tea & saucers of Champagne in Mayfair & London.
The building boom & plethora of exotic goods & textiles flooding into London attracted lovers of Art & Beauty & artists from artisans from around the world.
It was in the crucible of these Restoration Salons over cups of tea & saucers of Champagne alive with bubbles, that we forged our national identity.
In our eccentric preference of champagne with bubbles over the “superior” still wines of Champagne we English were cutting a line of our own.
The Eccentric British identity was not to be swayed. We were thrilled by the larky bubbles that tickled our noses. And while the French may have sneered at the time, they too eventually fell for the charms of the bubbles when Marie Antoinette declared her preference for the “Anglaise” bubbly Champagne & even the French conceeded that the British Eccentric predilection for the Devil’s Champagne was a quirk they’d be prepared to embrace after all.
Chin Chin Eccentrics everywhere!