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.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Featured stories

The lakes of Lombardy

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."
The fairytale castles of Sintra

The fairytale castles of Sintra

"The Portuguese town of Sintra is famous for many beautiful castles. Palácio Nacional da Pena is arguably the most stunning of the lot. "
Getting lost in Yazd

Getting lost in Yazd

"Navigating on random while surrounded by staring old men, pointing their crooked fingers at the Godzilla Viking in surprise. It feels like I’m walking around in Mos Eisley."
Roaming the cobblestones of Istanbul

Roaming the cobblestones of Istanbul

"Inside the church there are still traces of rune inscriptions made during the Viking age by Varangians, an elite guard made up of Scandinavian immigrant warriors."
Having champagne in Champagne

Having champagne in Champagne

"We roamed the damp and chilly tunnels and stumbled upon a large barrel delivered by Napoleon himself."
Bunker safari

Bunker safari

"The area contains 54 excavated bunkers along with gun emplacements, scattered around the town’s most visible landmark."

Instagram

Seville
Venice
Fever Ray
Rome
Basel
Kuala Lumpur