Bastille Day - Holidays and Wine
Bastille Day in France celebrates the day, on July 14th, 1789, when the Bastille was stormed by the people. This was the revolt of the common people over the King and God, showing that they could govern themselves and follow their own destinies.
In the end of the 18th century, this emerging class of citizens began to demand better food and wine for themselves. Things previously restricted to the upper classes were now made available to people of all castes and occupations. This period was before the Cru Tables, and before the various disasters of vine and pest that would plague France in the 1800s.
Wine production during this time had been highly influenced by the Monastic vineyards. Monasteries would maintain vineyards, and open land would often be planted with vines with grower and owner sharing the bounty of the crops. During this period wine was the chief export of France - English and Scottish traditions of drinking Claret (Bordeaux) date back to this period of history. Flemish and Dutch tend to drink Burugndy for the same reasons.
In fact, a wodden barrel, or tonneau, held around 238 gallons, and all ships became rated as to how many tonneau, or tons, they could carry, even if what they carried was not wine.
Bordeaux wines, like other French wines in the 18th century, were created on a crop-sharing basis. After the revolution the system changed to one of individual crus, or geographic origins, and prices began to be based on the proprety a wine originated from.
Regional wines had their fans in this period. The smooth reds of Graves, the rich Claret, the great Burgundy. Prior to 1789 the Burgundy wines were owned by churches, but they were broken up after the revolution into smaller pieces. Inheritance laws then took a hand in fragmenting them into even smaller pieces.
Champagne was a discovery of this time - Dom Perignon discovered methods of blending and clarifying this sparkling wine, and soon it was sought after in homes across the known world.
Bastille Day is a day for celebrating the victory of common man against those in power, and the ability of common man to share in the pleasures available. Drink a toast of Champagne, and celebrate the fine wines that France has to offer!
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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.