Mink Machine

Having champagne in Champagne

I just got back from a trip to the Champagne region in northern France. We visited several houses and it was very interesting to compare the giant champagne houses of to smaller vendors.

Moët & Chandon has a large building complex in Epernay, but the most impressive feature is their underground wine cellars, spanning 28 km of tunnels! We roamed the damp and chilly tunnels and stumbled upon a large barrel delivered by Napoleon himself to his good friend Moët in 1810.

Barrel from Napoleon The barrel from Napoleon.
Wine cellars The endless wine cellars below Moët & Chandon.

Moët & Chandon is well-known across the world, but to me they feel like the champagne version of Sandemans, the giant of port wine. Both are dominating the market and make competent drinks, but not too exciting. So I was happy to discover that the much smaller family estate of P.M. Roger & Fils in the charming village of Ay was up for the challenge. The cellar master was a charmismatic fellow and to me their unprepared bottle tasted superior to the classic Brut Impérial I had at Moët & Chandon.

Dom Pérignon A bottle of Dom Pérignon for 7400 euro. Let’s buy two.

But the region has a lot more to offer than damp cellars. Dom Pérignon was cellar master at the Benedictine Abbey and one of the key figures behind the development of the double-fermentation process. But today the monk is more well-known for the trademark by Moët & Chandon, used for a high-end Champagne in his name. He died in 1715 and we visited his tomb in the abbey of Hautvillers, a town which proclaims itself as “the cradle of Champagne”.

Tomb of Dom Pérignon The tomb of Dom Pérignon (left).
Dom Pérignon statue Probably best known as the trademark by Moët & Chandon.

We also walked among the impressive grape fields at Mutigny, on the slopes of Reims mountain. That really felt like quintessential France to me.

Mutigny White grapes (Chardonnay) at Mutigny.

Comments

No comments yet.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured stories

Exploring Chernobyl

"But unlike the movie Chernobyl Diaries, we didn’t find anybody there. Nature had reclaimed the area and the silence was deafening."

Roaming in Valletta

"I passed the statue of Jean de Valette, the 49th Grand Master who laid the foundation stone to Valletta in 1566, to gaze at the golden interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, where he is buried in the crypt."

The lakes of Lombardy

"The town of Como, largest settlement around Lake Como, attracts a lot of people with big wallets. But I preferred to take the funicular up the mountain to the Brunate region, where you get a much better view of the lake."

Historic locations in Gothenburg

"Hundreds of houses were quickly build, but unfortunately all of it was burned to the ground in 1611 by Danish forces."

Visions of Singapore

"By extensive use of landfill with sand bought from Indonesia and Cambodia, the bay area has expanded greatly in the last few years and tall buildings pop up everywhere."

Chilling in Chile

"My weary feet has reached Valparaiso. After almost a month of traveling across the South American continent I realize that this is as far south as I will come, due to weather conditions."