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Worth a visit
Rating 1.4 (179 votes)

Champagne

Listed under Wine Regions in Reims, France.

  • Photo of Champagne
  • Photo of Champagne
Photo of Champagne
Photo by flickr user roblisameehan
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The region of Champagne has become synonymous with the romance of the sparking wine it produces. There are around 300 Champagne villages, which are becoming more and more attractive as the Champagne tourist trade increases and interest grows in the history and culture of wine making in the region (especially the story of Dom Perignon, Benedictine Monk and first person to blend Champagne and to develop ways of containing it.).

Sparkling wine starts out it’s life as still wine, in the case of Champagne, mostly thin, acidic blends of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. Champagne is then fermented in the bottle. When the yeast breaks down the sugars produce the carbon dioxide sparkle (many people will tell you that when you taste Champagne before the fermentation process has occurred you’ll be able to see why it’s so important to the region, so make sure you try some.).

The premium grapes are grown on the gentle slopes of the Montagne de Reims where many of the great names in Champagne are based, including familiar names to the international markets like Pommery, Krug, Tattinger and Roederer. Most producers don’t grow their own grapes, instead buying from the vineyards, but the ones who do are obviously going to be the most interesting to visit, one of the highlights will be the ’dipping’ process where the yeast is delicately frozen in the bottle neck. Traditional producers here still employ a person to gradually turn the bottles upside down to get rid of the yeast called a Remueur, who expertly turns up to 40,000 bottles a day, this is a pretty impressive sight to see if you can arrange it.

The beautiful architecture of Reims, especially it’s cathedral, where generations of French Kings were crowned, and the Palais de Vergeur are also reasons to visit Champagne, as are the Roman ruins, statues and squares with pretty stone fountains. Champagne is close enough to Paris to visit for a day trip.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Other expert and press reviews

“Stock up for Christmas in Champagne”

By Anthony Peregrine for The Sunday Times First Published October 4, 2009 Let us agree that champagne is vital to the festive season — a retreat from charades, stodge and stuffing to the sunlit uplands of elegance. Or sanity, at least. After a co… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on timesonline.co,uk

“Rheims’s budget Champagne tour”

By Paul Croughton for The Sunday Times First Published 26th April 2009 It was all very well for old Lily Bollinger. It was she, you’ll remember, who chirped: “I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When … Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on timesonline.co.uk

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Aÿ Champagne

Anybody who knows a little bit about Champagne will tell you that the places to find good champagne houses are Reims and Epernay – and they are – but unless you've done some serious research or you're prepared to really hunt for what you want, you might end up paying more than you need to for a name you've heard of. Wouldn't it be far more exciting to come home with a case of something delicious that you can't buy anywhere else – and definitely not in the supermarket? Ay is one of the places where you might find it. The house of Gosset, for example, has been producing still wine since 1584 – much longer than Ruinart, the oldest actual Champagne house – but they make the fizzy stuff now, too. Even the Romans knew Ay as a great wine producer, and Pliny the Elder mentioned it fondly in his writings. It wasn't a Medieval fortress or even a junction between two Roman roads – just a stretch of top notch vineyard – and it still is.

Fizzy and posh

I do like Champagne. And I appreciate the arrogant way the producers have managed to brand their beverage so successfully to keep it top shelf (not that all of the Champagne in Champagne is…). I also love that one of it’s founding fathers was a monk. And of course that it’s fizzy. The place matches the tone, it’s a bit on the pricey side yet not quite as posh as it makes out to be. It’s actually worth learning about the different grape varieties that go into champers, the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meuniers are quite different and not many people know that.

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