Magical day in Champagne

Posted by on Jun 15, 2013 in Paris, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Magical day in Champagne

The weather turned beautiful just in time for our day long outing in Champagne.  We started with a private tour at the prestigious world-renowned Champagne House of Moët et Chandon, dating from 1743.  Moët et Chandon is one of the world’s largest champagne producers and a prominent champagne house.  The company is co-owner of the largest luxury goods group in the world, Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton (LVMH), and holds a Royal Warrant to supply champagne to Queen Elizabeth II of England.

cellars_moet_medInside the cellars of Moët et Chandon

The network of cellars at Moët et Chandon span 15+ miles and are listed on the  historical registry, as many of the cellars were excavated by the Romans.  A couple of months ago, a stone wall collapsed inside cellars at Moët et Chandon, revealing a new gallery (cellar room) ~ filled with bottles of champagne dating from 1878.  This is the oldest champagne that the house has on record.  They spent several months determining whether the champagne was still drinkable, and yes, it was not only drinkable but still in it’s prime.  This is very big news for the champagne house, and the day that we visited, they had not yet publicized the finding, so it was still secret information.

1878champagneA bottle of champagne dating from 1878, just put on display the very morning of our tour

Following the tour, we enjoyed a tasting of the house’s prestige vintage champagne, Dom Pérignon, named after the Benedictine monk and cellar master, Dom Pierre Pérignon who, by perfecting double-fermentation, set the stage for the creation of sparkling wine.  Produced from the finest grapes of a single year, Dom Pérignon is a vintage-only champagne (non-vintage champagne is made from wine fermented over the period of more than one year).

domperignondegustation_medThe Sommelier pour with one hand.

To complete our visit, we made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Dom Pierre Pérignon, housed in the abbey church of the nearby quaint village of Hautvillers.

hautvillers_abbeySaint-Sindulphe abbey church in Hautvillers

dom_perignon_tombThe tomb of monk and cellar master, Dom Pierre Pérignon

We had an exceptional lunch at a renovated magnificent neo-classical mansion on the Jacques Selosse estate in Champagne.  The charming village, Avize, lies at the heart of the “Côte des Blancs” area and has been renowned since the 18th century for its balanced Blanc de Blancs wines, classified Grand Cru.

entree_avises_medThe exquisite Hôtel Restaurant Les Avisés

Chef Stéphane prepares a special menu each day depending on what is available regionally.  His lovely wife, Nathalie, ensures the comfort of the guests.  The menu was spectacular and deserves its own post.

diningroom_Avises_medOur table in the chic dining room at Hôtel Restaurant Les Avisés

Following lunch, we made a stop at Tribaut-Schloesser, a small family estate in the tiny village of Romery, established in 1929.  I came to know about Tribaut through my father-in-law who orders their non-vintage Brut Rosé by the case; it flows generously at every family gathering, not just celebratory events, such as weddings, but also at birthdays, holiday dinners, and average run-of-the-mill dinner parties with friends

tribaut_tastingA tasting of Brut Rosé at Tribaut-Schloesser

We concluded our outing to Champagne with a stop in Reims, capital of the Champagne region, to behold the impressive Reims cathedral, the gothic splendor where many French kings have been crowned.

reimscathedral_medCathédrale de Reims

A full, yet lovely, day.