Champagne. In this French province people are occupied with growing of during more than two thousand years. Landscapes of the province are simply delicious – hills covered with vineyards, small villages with the domes of ancient churches, admiring of those gives the real pleasure.
In Champagne almost every local resident considers himself a winemaker. And surprisingly, it is true, as the art of winemaking is passed down from generation to generation, and women of Champagne are not inferior to the stronger sex in the production of this noble drink. It is enough to give examples of such legendary figures as Veuve Clicquot or Madame Pommery, who had won fame only after the death of their husbands.
According to the history, during long lime the Benedictine monk Pierre Perignon (nothing says family name? 🙂 ) has been acknowledged as the inventor of champagne. However, in recent decades this opinion is disputed by historians as well as producers of wine. As it turned out, the wines made in Champagne were sparkling originally, in a manner of speaking, of nature. And the author of the elite type of “Brut” was already mentioned Madame Pommery – this fact is not even discussed.
Well, go ahead. The city of Reims – the capital of the Champagne winemakers. But this place is known also by the fact that the coronation of French kings were here. In 498 the first king and founder of the Frankish state Clovis was anointed in Reims. According to an ancient legend, during that memorable ceremony the dove flew in the church, carrying a vessel with holy oil in its beak, which was used to anoint the king.
Later, the main temple of Raines was rebuilt repeatedly after rapid fires. And each of the next French monarchs was crowned right here. Say that one will, tradition is tradition. The last of them – Charles X – was crowned in 1825. That legendary vessel of oil is preserved to this day, despite of the representatives of the French Revolution had tried to destroy it. The cathedral was damaged during the Second World War with German bombing, most of the stained glass were broken. However, there is no evil without good, the author of new stained glass windows in the church became a legendary native of Belarus Marc Chagall.
But, let’s back to our days. The mandatory element of any travel program in Champagne – the Pommery house of Champagne. Frankly speaking, novels can be wrote on this place. It is located in a magnificent castle, which in its appearance has little resemblance to a usual winery, and was founded by Madame Pommery in 1868. This legendary woman was left with two children after the death of her husband and to secure her family for many years, had decided to become a winemaker. She bought the old abandoned limestone mines (total length – 19 km) and several vineyards. In the issue, the idea of Madame Pommery was very successful, thanks to the mine temperature characteristics, what were ideal for wine aging. The business woman (not devoid of love for the beautiful) decorated vaults of mines with original bás-relief. What about the main issue, the bins now contain more than twenty million bottles of champagne, which eventually will fall into shops around the world. Tour of Madame’s Pommery heritage is very interesting, because you’ll be told a lot of details from the life of winemakers of Champagne, secrets of their skills; guide will teach how to open a bottle properly, as it should make a real man – with a saber :-). And, of course, the main thing! You will taste several sorts of excellent sparkling wine, and the cherry on this cake is the best Pommery Brut Royal – the first one that glorified its creator.
If the wine in Champagne of the highest level, it’s local cuisine is simple and democratic. Natives prefer to mix champagne with red meat, poultry, meat of rabbit, smoked salmon, Flamiche (scrambled eggs on leek and cream) or Sarbonnade de boeuf (beef stew).
In a case if being in Champagne you’ll save energy after the tasting of local wines, so be sure to visit the beautiful Basilica in Reims, the cathedral in Troyes with stunning stained glass windows, buy some souvenirs and, of course, champagne.