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Champagne

 

Destination Champagne

The capital of the bubble business is located in the northeastern part of France. As far as the eye can see, over 30,000 hectares of vineyards stretch over the hilly landscape of the Champagne region. Between Reims and Epernay you will find lovely, picturesque villages surrounded by the majority of the champagne vineyards.

During the Roman times, the cultivation of vines in the Champagne region was already well established, but it was not until the 18th century before the actual champagne, as we know it, was invented. According to the legend, the monk Dom Perignon was responsible for the innovation of mixing grapes from different vineyards, and speeding up the wine-making process by adding a little yeast. The actual technique to control the tendency to re-ferment within the bottle was developed by the British. This so called glass-molding technique produced sufficiently strong vessels to contain the natural bubble and the pressure from within the bottle.

Nowhere else in France or in the rest of the world can the trademark Champagne be used. Although you can refer to the “champanoise method”, the name Champagne can not be used and the sparkling wines have names which hint the famous bubble, such as Champan or Shampanskoye. According to the locals, there is indeed a difference between the sparkling wine from outside the Champagne region and their own precious Champagne. The locals will tell you that the difference will come from the squid fossils in the chalk, the lie of the land and its critical climate, the evolution of the grapes and the regulating pruning methods. That sounds all very nice, but the most important thing is that the Champagne from this region is just simply delicious. The best way to explore the area is to rent a car and visit the so called Maisons, houses to see the process of the champagne making. Stroll around the caves and taste a glass or two! Piper-Heidsieck, Taittinger, Moet & Chandon and Joseph Perrier are some of the famous names which produce the mouth watering fancy bubbles. But also the smaller Champagne houses are definitely worth a visit. While driving around the region you will discover some quaint villages where the owner of the local Maison will be happy to show you around and let you taste some of his finest Champagne.