So as you may have guessed we might, we stayed in the Champagne region longer than planned, can’t think why... nothing to do with the many opportunities for champagne tasting!! And this part of the travel blog is longer than usual as there’s so much to share...
Our planned one night stay at Camping d’Epernay campsite increased from one night, to two, to four. Why? It’s ideally located on the outskirts of Epernay, the centre of champagne production and surrounded by vines, and the campsite offers tours to local champagne producers at a very reasonable price.... so we had to try a couple!! Our first trip was to J Charpentier where the daughter of the House provided an interesting tour. Christian and Marie from Sweden shared the tour with us and are our new champagne friends 🥂.
Second visit was to Jacquinot & Fils, another small producer and this House has one of the deepest cellars of all champagne houses. We were lucky to have Jean-Manuel Jacquinot as our tour guide. He is the grandson of the founder and now runs the estate and was a real font of knowledge having worked in the champagne industry around the world.
Mercier Champagne House is one of the big boys in the champagne world located with many other large champagne producers in the centre of Epernay... our third tour here included a ride on a train along some of their 18km of wine cellars. The giant wine barrel there, in the picture below, holds 200,000 litres of wine and was towed by 24 oxen and 18 horses to the Paris Exhibition of 1889.
On our last day in Epernay we cycled into the hills and vines and came across Hautvillers....and what a find that was! A charming champagne-producing village with houses decorated with beautiful forged iron shop signs, picture perfect in every way! It was also the home of the famous Dom Pierre Pérignon, a Benedictine monk, whose work in wine-making helped to develop champagne...legend has it that he came out of the cellar one day yelling to his Benedictine brothers “I am drinking stars!” And we’ve all enjoyed drinking stars ever since ✨✨
We found a quiet aire in the centre of the village and spent a fantastic 24 hours there!
In all, we learnt that champagne is made from a combination of up to only 3 varieties of grape, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and that it is best served from a magnum bottle.... we also learnt that personally we like any combination of grapes and any size of bottle 😉
More photos of our travels in Champagne region and elsewhere can be found in the travel section of the website... https://www.goneawayglamping.com/ourtravels2019