21 Apr 2015

Champagne in Champagne

Photos Nanna Salmi

Less than 30 km from Reims there is one of the most famous centers of Champagne production - Aÿ. The vineyards are located in the Vallée de la Marne subregion of Champagne, and are classified as Grand Cru (100%) in the Champagne vineyard classification. 

Visiting Bollinger
The firm of Renaudin-Bollinger & Cie was founded on 6th of February 1829 by Athanase de Villermont, the youngest son of a noble family, Joseph Bollinger, German, who had left his country of birth to learn about the Champagne wine trade, and Paul Renaudin, a local man who was fascinated by the world of wine. 


Each Champagne House has it's own, interesting history and some specialties that make each one of them interesting and charming. 


Bollinger is the only big Champagne House that still uses oak barrels. Champagne is fermented in oak barrels, it is challenging as the barrel easily gives it´s own aroma to the wine. The barrels are now made in Reims but there is still a carpenter´s workshop where the barrels are repaired. We got to see how the barrels were disinfected with sulfur smoke, washed and dried outside.


Museum vineyard is a small vineyard right next to the main building. It is surrounded by the walls, and here some grapevines are kept safe from certain insects and diseases. Bollinger also tests an old method of planting the vines in groups, randomly, without support, instead of straight lines and wire ropes.


The buildings are absolutely beautiful and the tasting room is like from a fairy tail...


We got to taste three different champagnes. The Bollinger champagnes have character, elegance and complexity. The backbone of the Bollinger style is Pinot Noir - a demanding and intense grape.

And of course - James Bond drinks Bollinger.


Bollinger was Nanna´s favorite house.


"I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty." 
-Lilly Bollinger-


Visiting Ayala
The next stop was Champagne House Ayala. Outside it was like any other Champagne House: beautiful, historic buildings and nice plantings. Ayala is one of the longest-established Champagne Houses.  
It was founded 1860 by Spanish Edmond de Ayala. 


Inside we came into a totally different world: a lot of tradition and history, but also fresh winds, 
black and white, steel vats, production lines - modern, young people at work, 
doing the thing they know best and have passion for!
The House is still independent and family-owned.



Ayala´s style is fresh and elegant - even feminine - but not sweet. Long lasting bubbles fresh you up and you can enjoy their champagnes with sea food or just on their own celebrating any good moment in your life. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the grapes they use and only 7 g / l of sugar is used in Bruts.


As most of us were women, we were very touched about the fact that the wine master is a woman, 
Caroline Latrive. 
She continues the tradition of women in the champagne business.

Thank you, Caroline Brun, for a delighting visit!

Visiting Deutz
The third tasting of the day was in the House Deutz. And again we experienced
something very different.


House Deutz entertains their guests in the house which has been the family´s private
house. Our host was Jean-Marc Lallier-Deutz himself.
It was quite breathtaking to sit in the salon, walk through the enormous French doors, into and through the garden to the distillery building. Old times and new times...


Deutz, formerly known as Deutz Geldermann, was founded in 1838 by William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann, wine merchants from Aix-la-Chapelle.

Deutz champagnes are very elegant, ethereal style of wine. 
The Brut Classic is fruit characteristics, whilst the palate is full of biscuit and honey which gives the wine great balance and poise.
Their rosé is also outstanding -  it is made only from Pinot Noir, with 8% added as red wine by assemblage.





Thank you, Bollinger, Ayala and Deutz, for having us.
We wish you a perfect season 2015!

(Still no horses in sight but we continue looking for at least one!)


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