A glamorous break in the Champagne vineyards

Rural tradition and History

Over two million years ago, water gave way to limestone, chalky-type grounds. A type of soil that perfectly suits the Pinot Noir, Meunier Pinot and Chardonnay, Champagne’s region three grape varieties.

A Noble wine country
The vineyards are sitting on four wine-growing areas: the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, the Côte des Blancs and the Côte des Bars. The soil there is primarily calcareous and the vineyards lay on chalky clay grounds. In the XIIth century the forefather of Pinot Noir known as the «morillon noir» was brought to the Champagne region from Burgundy by Saint Bernard from the Clairevaux Abbey. In the Middle Ages, the “river” wines , described as peaceful / still wines such as the Aÿ, Cumières and Damery wines were under the protection of the Saint Rémi, Bishop of the city of Reims and were chosen to be served on great occasions such as coronations and consecrations. It was said by a renouned columnist then that “great quantities of Champagne wines were served for the coronation of Philippe the IVth”. Riceys’ wine was known as a Court wine in the reigns of Henri the IVth and the Champagne region’s Counts.

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Main grapes varieties
Pinot noir (red grapes), meunier (red grappes) and chardonnay (white grapes). On a smaller scale you find the arbanne, the petit meslier, the white pinot and grey pinot. Tapped Pink Champagne comes from Pinot Noir; its color comes from the actual skin of the grape. Assembled Pink Champagne is mainly made of Pinot Noir mixed with red wine. An old tale says that it was only in 1656 that Dom Perignon, a benedict monk from the Hautvillers Abbey, had the idea to turn the still will in sparkling wine. He then confided the divine sparkles’ secret, named the “Champagne Method”, to his good friend Nicolas Ruinart who bottled this magnificent gift of God. In 1729, Champagne was born !

Travel with WineTravelinFrance, the agency specialised in high end wine tours in Champagne and enjoy the French Art de Vivre in Champagne area.

who is who, A glamorous breakaway in the champagne region vineyards

A wine for Kings…
According to Louis the XVth, champagne was the best remedy for melancholy. “It is the only wine that enhances the beauty of women” repeated Madam de Pompadour. Frederik de Prussia simply loved it, and Pierre le Grand loved it excessively! It was precisely for Alexander II himself that Roederer created the Cristal Vintage; Joseph Perrier specially produced the Royal Vintage for Queen Victoria and Edouard the VII.

…And by Ladies
Great Champagne Trading houses were run by widows and some still are now. As matter of fact, Champagne is known to be a success story for women: the Clicquot widow (Veuve Clicquot), the Pommery widow as well as Laurent Perrier and Bollinger are considered as champagne’s great Ladies.

The Stars’ delight
Hollywood’s partnership for its promotion: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman associate charm, seduction and glamour with champagne in the movie Casablanca. James Bond cracks a Bollinger 61 vintage open. Taittinger holds its part with Tom Cruise in Top Gun. The VIP Vintage of Nicolas Feuillatte was known as Laureen Bacall’s and Jackie Onassis’ soft spots. The Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Vintage, widely known as “the Flower” in the US, it is part of the top favourites. Part of the movie “Reine Margot”starring Isabelle Adjani was also filmed in the 17th century baroque style library of Reims’ famous private school «Collège des Jésuites».