There is champagne, and then there is the idea of champagne.
Champagne is what people drink on New Year’s Eve. The idea of it is what gets smashed onto the hulls of yachts and sprayed on joyful men after championship games. “Champagne continually has to defend itself,” the wine columnist Hugh Johnson once wrote, “against the danger of becoming a notion rather than a wine.”
It is a legendary beverage, and there’s enough overlap between mythology and history to warrant some clarifications. For example, the widely shared story of the French monk Dom Pierre Pérignon accidentally inventing champagne, tasting it, then shouting, “Come quickly! I’m drinking the stars!” is almost certainly apocryphal. (The quote itself, can be traced back to a 19th-century advertisement, according to Rod Phillips’s book, A Short History of Wine.) In Pérignon’s day, fermentation that made still wine bubbly was a manufacturing error, and an embarrassing one to be avoided.
Also, lodging a spoon in the neck of an open bottle of champagne does not help it retain its fizz overnight. Recorking a bottle with a balloon, though charming, is similarly ill-advised. Shelving it in the fridge, however, might make actually make champagne sparkle a little longer. “When you start to heat water or a liquid, you drive the gas out of it,” the chemist Richard Zare told NPR back in 2010. “So keeping it cold is the secret, we think, to keep it fizzing.” (Or, you know, you could just finish the bottle while it’s fresh.)