We left Paris today. We were picked up at 830am and made our way to the Champagne region. It was a day learning about how Champagne was made and drinking beautiful Champagne! We visited three Champagne houses.
The first one was Henri Giraud. It was a medium sized Champagne House that made about 18000 bottles per year. We had lunch in a lovely restaurant in Epernay. After lunch we visited Moët and Chandon and had a private tour which finished with a very beautiful glass of 2004 Dom Perignon. On this tour we visited some of the wine crayeres. These wine crayeres are tunnels underneath the ground that are carved out of the chalk and go for many kilometers. At Moët and Chandon they have 28 kilometers. Moët and Chandon produce 26 million bottles of champagne per year. The Dom Perignon we had was the most beautiful Champagne and one that you could drink with food not just as an aperitif. We were served this Champagne in a normal wine glass so that we were able to appreciate the flavour and aroma.
Our next stop was the smallest Champagne House in the region. This Champagne House was in a persons home ! It’s name was Jean-Claude Mouzon and they produced 3000 bottles per year. The owner opened her garage door and we learnt about their process. We even got to walk down the spiral stairs and see where the wine was stored during fermentation. This Champagne was also very good and the owners were very passionate about their work.
The formation of Champagne is such a complex process. The special areas the grapes come from are very important. The fermentation process and the way the champagne is stored are quite complex. I have a much greater respect for real Champagne now and I will not describe Australian Sparkling wine as Champagne!
A panoramic view of the champagne area.