Based on a series of articles published in The World of Fine Wine, Bursting Bubbles is a ground-breaking new book that offers the reader an alternate history of Champagne and its greatest growers. Often controversial, it is a no-holds barred look at the world's most famous wine region and the sparkling wine that it produces. It has the potential to change the way wine lovers think about Champagne. In his foreword, multi award winning author Andrew Jefford has called Bursting Bubbles, 'The most engaging book about leading Champagne growers I've read, full of insight and detail' and '...the most refreshing, pretension-pricking, myth-busting and amusingly unfrothy book on the subject I've read.'
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Robert Walters is a respected wine merchant, vineyard owner and writer with over 25 years of experience in the trade. His deep knowledge of the Champagne region comes from working with some of the pre-eminent growers of Champagne from Europe, Australia and New Zealand for close to 15 years, giving him a unique perspective.
- Disclaimers Where the author pre-empts several lines of criticism, comes clean about his motivations and forewarns the reader that he is not without self-interest
- Prologue In which a wine traveller has an encounter with a Champagne from another planet and lets the reader in on a little secret
- Part I Where we follow sparkling Champagne's remarkable metamorphosis from faulty to fabulous
- Myth I In the name of the father: Dom Pérignon was the father of Champagne
- Part II In which we drive along a haunted racetrack in search of a singular grower and discover, not for the last time, that all is not what it seems in the world of Champagne
- Part III Where we meet the revolutionary parents of modern Champagne - science and industry
- Myth II First place: Champagne was the original sparkling wine
- Part IV In which the author travels to the mountain to meet the rock of Ambonnay, tries to get blood from a stone and ends up leaving on better terms than when he arrived
- Myth III The good and the great: Grand cru vineyards produce the best wines
- Part V Where we head to 'Rahnse' to visit the cathedral and then travel south to Épernay, for a stroll down the legendary Avenue de Disney
- Myth IV Silver spoon: Placing a spoon in the top of a Champagne bottle helps preserve the bubbles for longer
- Part VI In which the wine traveller drives south from Épernay to Avize and discovers that all that glitters is not gold
- Part VII Where we encounter more threats to Champagne's 'Great Wine' pretensions and find out what conventional Champagne has in common with baked bread, roasted nuts and seared steak
- Myth V Holy Trilogy: Only three grape varieties are used to make Champagne
- Part VIII In which we pay a visit to Pascal Agrapart, and where the author acknowledges that he can sometimes miss what is right under his nose by playing the man and not the ball
- Part IX Where we unearth even more image problems for Champagne (by comparing the 'approach Champenois' with best practice in Burgundy) and where we also learn that the English are the necrophiliacs of the wine world
- Myth VI Blending is better: Champagne is blended in order to produce a better balanced, better quality wine
- Part X In which the author tries to comprehend Anselme Selosse via a blend of pop psychology and historical minutiae and then plays word games with the man himself
- Part XI Where we blend a few things together in order to produce a histoire vraie of Champagne and then explore the extent to which brand has come to dominate land in this famous region
- Myth VII Simple fizzics: Where bubbles come from
- Part XII In which we head south to Vertus and visit a great grower making 'crazy wine' in order to remind ourselves, once again, that Champagne is a wine, first and foremost
- Part XIII The continuation of our histoire vraie, where the author views advanced capitalism through the rosiest of glasses and perhaps takes the friendship too far by comparing the history of Champagne to that of Camembert and free-range chicken
- Myth VIII The shape of things to come: Champagne should be served in flutes
- Part XIV In which we travel from Vertus to the historic market city of Troyes, all the while grappling with the ideologies of Champagne's separatists
- Part XV Where the author discusses the problems with the term 'grower revolution' and then offers the reader a choice between two radically different worlds of Champagne
- Part XVI In which we visit our first Aube grower and learn what it means to be an outsider in your own wine region
- Part XVII The final instalment of our histoire vraie, where the true grower revolutions are revealed - and yes, there were more than one
- Myth IX In the beginning: Champagne is mentioned in the Bible
- Part XVIII In which we visit a vigneron farmer - or is that a farmer vigneron?
- Part XIX Where we delve into the remaining key factors that led to the development of Champagne's current batch of great grower-producers
- Myth X Bursting bubbles: Smaller bubbles are a sign of a high-quality Champagne
- Part XX In which we visit the last of our growers in the Aube and learn that, no matter how seriously we take it, wine's main work is to make us happy
- Epilogue A short manifesto in which the author asks you, the wine lover, a simple, somewhat rhetorical question: 'What sort of Champagne do you really want to drink?'
It all gets off to a cracking start, since the author is a gifted writer who gives a delightfully engaging account of his epiphany, his unconditional surrender to the charms of the great grower Champagnes in God's little acre. Robert Walters writes not because he wants to sell more; he simply thinks that the wines are brilliant and that the story of their creators should be told. -- Michael Edwards Bursting Bubbles by Robert Walters is the most provocative wine book I've read in a while. * The Guardian * Busting Bubbles should be in every wine drinker's library, and mandatory reading for every sommelier and hospitality student. Highly recommended. -- Hrayr Berberoglu Bursting Bubbles is about tradition, it's about revolution - the ever-changing competition in carbonation and taste - and is oh so worth the read. Packed with insightful perspectives, Robert Walters captures the people and history of champagne unlike any other book. This is a must-read book for any wine lover who has an ounce of interest in champagne. If this book doesn't inspire you to seek out the wines of these great growers profiled at the end, then read it again! -- Derek Morrison Robert Walters is an exceptionally good storyteller. His writing is eloquent and often impassioned. Wherever you stand, you should read the book. The debate is worth having. -- Jancis Tamly Currin Robertson.com A brilliant and appealing book, and the story it tells is fascinating and compelling - leaving me thirsty to try some of the wines that are its subject. -- Tim James * Wine Mag * There's much to agree with in this book. It is well written and researched, a pleasure to read and Walters argues his case persuasively. Most importantly, at the same time as it engages in some hand-wringing about the way things are, it communicates a joy and enthusiasm for good Champagne. I wholeheartedly recommend it. -- Huon Hook * The Real Review * Written with verve and wit. In addition to a fascinating historical examination, Walters explodes numerous myths, which will amuse any lover of wine trivia. -- Tim White * Australian Financial Review * Reckons with the multitude of Champagne myths in an edifying manner. This is the most readable wine book on this list. -- 9 Must-Reads for Drinks Industry Scott Rosenbaum Pros * Sevenfifty.com * Shows a masterly command of what is important in writing fastidiously crafted profiles of the top artisans of the Montagne and Cote he knows best. -- Michael Edwards * The World of Fine Wine * This beautifully written book is so cheerful and entertaining that one risks not realising how thoughtful and informative it is as well - a risk that I would advise any wine lover to take without hesitation. -- Manzanilla & Awarding-winning co-author of Sherry Jesus Barquin Montilla Champagne. It's the pop, the cork, the theatre and sheer luxury of an exquisite drink. So, where best to start researching this enigmatic tipple? ... There is so much to this industry and Bursting Bubbles goes a long way to explaining what to consider before splashing out on a bottle of Dom Perignon. The book is a fascinating combination of history, legend, travel guide and non-holds barred insight into the ultimate celebratory drink. -- Annette Shaw * Goodreads *
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