It's New Year's Eve! There are three major things on my mind, and I'm willing to bet a lot of you are thinking about those same things: the year 2013, the New Year to come, and Champagne! 2013 was a great year for us. Among the many wonderful things we did was visit Epernay, France, where we took a tour of the Champagne caves at Moet & Chandon. In Epernay, there is actually a road called Avenue de Champagne, and the road is lined with Champagne houses from Moet & Chandon to Pol Roger to Perriet-Jouet.
We scheduled a tour at Moet & Chandon before we even set off on our trip, which started in Paris and ended in Frankfurt. When we left Paris, we took a high-speed train to Reims (home of another famous Champagne: Veuve Clicquot. We tried to schedule a tour there too, but it was closed for renovations during our trip). From Reims we drove to Epernay and found Moet & Chandon on the Avenue de Champagne. (As you can tell, I was very excited.)
Once inside, we checked in for our tour and waited in the lobby for it to begin. Our tour guide soon gathered our group and led us to down to the caves, which are underneath the Champagne house. There are actually millions of bottles of Champagne underneath Epernay due to all the Champagne houses. Our tour guide took us through the caves and explained the Champagne making process, in general and specific to Moet & Chandon. We learned a ton on the tour. (I wish I had taken notes!)
|A gift from Napoleon|
|Sediment in the bottle|
|Unlabeled bottles of Dom Perignon|
After touring the caves, we gathered in the tasting room. Jeff and I signed up for two different tastings, so we could try four different Champagnes. We had the Imperial, the Rose Imperial, the Grand Vintage 2004, and the Grand Vintage Rose 2004. Vintage Champagnes are made from grapes grown during only one season, so they taste different each year. The Imperial and Rose Imperial use reserve wines and are blended for constancy. All the Champagnes we tasted use different combinations of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
After we finished tasting, we wandered around the gift shop a little and then set out to find some food and get on the road to Germany. (We actually didn't end up getting something to eat until we arrived at our hotel in Germany, but luckily I had a baguette and and a hunk of Comte from Paris for us to snack on. I still wonder to this day why I didn't grab at least five baguettes before we left.)
I hope you all get to celebrate New Year's Eve with a little bubbly, whether Champagne, sparkling wine, or sparkling cider. Best wishes for the New Year!
What's your favorite bubbly?