So off we went early one morning to Gare de l'Est to take the train.
Which was delayed by an hour for a reason I still don't
understand. There were announcements which were mildly
perplexing, and many people got off no doubt to find a quicker
transfer. We sat and waited.
The joys of travel.
|After we got going though we were soon whisked away |
to the lovely countryside of the Champagne region.
|Epernay - where everything celebrates Champagne|
| Of course we had local Epernay |
Champagne with lunch
|Thankfully we didn't use the |
advice of my phone
|A quick taxi ride and there we are|
|Naturally the gardens are beautifully|
I was surprised to find that the vineyard and production facilities are really right in the town of Maureuil-sur-Aÿ, behind the original house. The town was occupied during the war, but thankfully not bombed- I guess the Nazis liked champagne too and wanted to preserve it.
|The famous Clos St Hilaire vineyard|
|Bacchus watching our progress|
|The cellars are somewhat spooky, but fascinating|
|Thousands of these bottles explode per year!|
|Jerome showing us the lees.|
Riddling is done to collect the sediment in the neck of the bottle, this is then frozen and removed leaving a beautiful, clear champagne. Riddling is now largely performed by machine. Understandble as machine riddling takes a mere 4 days, whilst riddling by hand takes 4-6 weeks. Hand riddling is still done for large bottles or special vintages. Jerome told us about the production of champagne in great detail- it's a fascinating process to make those delightful bubbles- a superb blend of chemistry and art.
Billecart-Salmon age their wines in barrels that have been used to make burgundy blanc for at least 5 years.
How better to end our tour than with a tasting? I don't mind if I do.
The Brut Rose is Billecart-Salmon's most famous and popular variety. Jerome told us it was always fresh, blended with pinot noir and is lovely with any pink food- salmon, tuna, red fruits, desserts like strawberry soup (strawberry soup is a thing in France- it's very delicious). The rose is in an older style of bottle, a foundation shape. It was amazing to learn that all their bottles are made in the village- less than 5 km away.
I'd love to spend more time in Champagne. Until I can get back though I'll just have to be content to do my best and drink some as often as I can.
|Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme|
now hosted by WestMetroMommy
I don't understand most delays either. And I agree that the cellar seems a bit scary. What an awesome trip though!
Thank you so much for taking here today. What a lovely day. Hopefully that restaurant rec app is not usually as unreliable!
The callar looks fun to wander around. Im sure the exploding bottles make a huge noise as it echos through the cellars. I also love the photo of the red leaves.
Sean at His and Her Hobbies
The cellar and exploding bottles - sounds scary, but fun. What a great day trip! I loved the photos and learning about champagne :)
What a great day out. Not sure I would have coped, as I always get a bit silly after champagne.
You really took some interesting pics - nice variety - just lovely.
looks like fun. Didn't know old champagne had a habit of exploding!
- Linking over from Saturday Snapshots
I have Champagne on my list for 'next time' -- I hadn't realised how easy it was (er, without delays...) to get to. Good news!
Looks like a lovely trip, in spite of the delay! The cellars are awesome and a little bit spooky.
It is not very far from Brussels, but the only time we were there the whole area was mostly closed. It was around All Saints in November, so not the best time to go. Have to try again.
Well, between a passion for France and a passion for champagne, I think I must visit this region next time. I had no idea it would be so easy to get there -- and the tour s is fascinating! Thanks, Louise!
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