‘When will France learn…that champagne should be drunk with roast meat and not introduced as an incubus after dinner’ demanded a letter in The Times in September 1860.
(the header and text of this write up is sourced from this article https://bit.ly/2HvQ2TZ)
The above mid 19th century excerpt essentially espouses the current trend of drinking champagne in the main course instead of just an aperitif or an after dinner drink, if its demi sec/sec.
A read through the article reveals that till early 1800s Londoners were used to sweet champagnes, as a pre or post dinner drink. This was mainly because for many centuries their palates had been accustomed to sweet and rich fortified wines like Sherry and Port. However, near to 1850, the taste increasingly changed over to light, fresh, natural and dry champagnes. This trend was fuelled by the desire of the young and upwardly mobile generation of those times to appear different and sophisticated. (Its much akin to changing tastes of millennials these days).
Now, being accustomed to supplying sweet champagnes to Britain market, the French producers were very reluctant initially to switch to dry champagnes. However, like any other product, champagne is also a function of demand and supply. And the demand increased so much that with a few decades the French champagne houses started supplying completely dry champagnes to Britain (If you recall, we already discussed this in an earlier post also on how champagne went from sweet to dry).
(The image depicts champagne being served in dinner rather than just an aperitif in late 19th century)