Saturday, I took the TGV high speed train to Reims (pronounced “Rance”) to see some of the famous champagne houses in the region. The scenery was a blur at 200+ km/hr on the TGV. It was quite foggy on route to Reims as well as started to rain. I did not think that this would be a very good day for harvesting in Champagne. The first winery I visited was Taittinger, one of the larger Champagne houses. I attended a tour that took us through the caverns stuffed to the hilt with bottles of champagne waiting to age to perfection. it was quite interesting to see these caves first cut by Romans and then used by the monks to travel underground for their safety. Above ground I was treated to a 100% chardonnay entry level Brut Champagne. Very fine bubble, some biscuity aroma and citrus flavour. Pictures of Taittinger are to the right.
A quick sandwich in the rain, then on to a smaller Champagne house, G.H. Martel & Co. This was very informal. No tour, but was sat down in a lounge area and served 3 different champagnes. The first champagne was 100% chardonnay. It was light, citrusy, with a very fine bubble. I was told that the chardonnay grape gives the finest bubbles. The second champagne served is the Charles de Cazanove. This was a blend with predominantly chardonnay grapes (70%) and the remainder pinot noir (30%). This wine had more body than the first chardonnay due to the pinot noir grape. The last wine of my tasting flight was a 2000 vintage champagne. It was aged in their caves for 7 years before being released. This champagne had the most character and was the most full bodied of the three wines. Pictures of G.H. Martel are below.
Coming up will be my tours of Alsace and of Burgundy. Keep checking in.