Would you like to taste the finest and most delicate French champagne? Reims and its vineyards, in the heart of the Champagne region along the Via Francigena, is the perfect spot to reward yourself after your walking day. Reims is a rich city, proud of its glorious past and home to prestigious Champagne Houses. If you are a champagne or wine lover, the Champagne-Ardenne region is definitely a must-visit. Its exclusive world-famous delicate champagne is a whole new experience, for both bubbly ‘connoisseurs’ and novices alike.
The origin of Champagne
If you didn’t know, Champagne is originally a simple basic wine. One of the most important factors that make champagne exceptional is thelocation of its vineyards, its grape-growing area. Indeed, the vineyards are located in fragile soils, needing an Oceanic climate, a chalky subsoil and must be situated onsloping ground.
If you are wondering how a simple wine becomes a sparkling one, this is the answer: it needs control, perfection and most importantly: time. To get this natural effervescence, the champagne has to be stocked in a quiet and peaceful cellar at a constant temperature and it requires darkness and humidity.
The main character trait to be a good winegrower is passion and patience!
The best Champagne houses
If you have some time to spend in Reims and if you are interested in tasting the magic bubbles surrounded by stunning scenery, head South of Reims (1,3 km) to live a very unique experience and take one of the best house cellar tours in the region.
These are some of the most famous Champagne houses that should be on your visit list (booking in advance recommended):
- Vranken Pommery, created by Madame Louise Pommery in 1868. You will be amazed by this cellar, which is situated 116 steps underground. There, you will be surrounded by bottles stored for along time, some of them over a hundred years. How do you feel about that?
- Taittinger, 10 minutes walk from Vranken Pommery is the third oldest champagne house, built atop of a cavernous 4th century Roman stone quarry. What makes Tattingerhouse sensational is its shared past heritage with Saint-Nicaise Abbey, the Residence of the Count of Champagne and the Chateau de la Marquetterie. You will experience the spirit of silence required to make the champagne an exceptional drink.
- Veuve Clicquot, just 600 m away from Taittinger is where the ‘ridding’ (‘remuage’ in French) process has been invented to remove sediment and improve the clarity of the wine. This technic is still used by many producers who will be always beholden to Veuve Clicquot. Their motto is ‘only one quality, the finest’. You will discover this is certainly something your palate will be pleased to taste.
Fancy a sip now? Well along your way on the Via Francigena you know what to do once you get to Reims!