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Champagne region: squiffy Squiffy

Posted by Squiffy on September 12th, 2007

I confess. It was me that added the Champagne region to our European route, mainly because I love the bubbly stuff and wanted to sample lots of it at source. And my dreams have come true. As a particular fan of Veuve-Clicquot the first thing I did when we got to France was to book us onto a tour of the VC ‘champagne house and cellars’ based in Reims. We were shown around by a humourous French man (yes, they exist), who explained the history of the house and champagne making process. It was genuinely insightful and interesting. Our guide gave us a tour of the impressive cellars, once used as a chalk mine, and showed us bottles dated from 1920. At the end of the tour I didn’t need any encouragement to sample the champers, and, of course, I was unable to resist buying a bottle. Vintage (1999). Bottoms Up.

A couple of days ago we drove the ‘Champagne Tourist Route‘ from Reims to Epernay, where large and small champagne houses emerge from the vines around every corner. We stopped at a house claiming to use Grand Cru (the best grapes) and sampled a glass each, me a rose, Dave a vintage 99. It was delicious. As we left the tasting room, I nominated Dave as driver, for I was squiffy. Again.

Once in Epernay we visited perhaps the most famous champagne house of all – Moet & Chandon – where we experienced another well delivered tour and drank more champers. It was useful to learn that once you’ve bought a bottle of champagne it’s not a good idea to keep it for more than 3 years as it loses its fizz – so the bottle my dad has under the stairs waiting for my sister or I to get married is almost certainly flat (I guess he thought he might have married us off by now).

The Champagne region really is lovely. The landscape and villages are pretty, the history interesting and the champgane scrummy (hic!). The tourist route is really well signposted and the roads empty. I’d recommend it for a weekend break (I think you can fly to Reims) but it’s not so good for camping as there aren’t many sites on the route, so expect to stay in Chambre d’Hotes instead (bed and breakfasts). Cheers!

Comments

Comment from Simon Poulter
Time: November 28, 2011, 6:24 pm

Im just booking a similar weekend break in Reims with Mrs, AND NO KIDS.
She loves Champagne
I love driving
Perfic

Wondered if you had any more details on the route or is it so well signed its a matter of suck it and see?

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