Saturday, June 28, 2014

Champagne Caves

Today was very exciting, as the 3 of us visited Pommery champagne house in Reims. This champagne house wasn't mentioned in the guidebook, but the clerk at the front desk of our hotel suggested it, and it was a great tour. We opted for the 2 hour version. 

Built in 1868, this champagne house impresses for many reasons. For one, it was all managed by Mr. Pommery's widow, Louise, as Mr. Pommery passed away when she was 39 years old. She designed this whole operation: from the vineyards to the chalk quary caves to the vaults where the juice is fermented, and she did this at a time when women were not owning and operating companies. 

Secondly, the vineyards are "green" and don't use insecticides. 
Vintage barrel
Another thing that makes the champagne house cool is that each year they do contemporary art shows and they keep the work on property. This has been going on for 11 years now. 
But Louise Pommery loved art so much that she had a lot of it commissioned back in the 1800s...these murals in the cave were carved in candlelight 

The caves are cold! We bundled up. 

Check out the chalk

Over 37,000 bottles aging, and that's just one little space. Each year, the Pommery produces 5 million bottles. 

I learned so much about how champagne is made. Each bottle has to be aged 3-12 years before being released. It's a long and complex process. And armed with this knowledge, we were ready for our tasting. We got 2 full glasses. 

So good! The tour was well worth the $40 price. We all recommend it! 

For dinner, we are at a little cafe chèvre and menthe. Good vegetarian options (hard to find in France). Our dessert was mint chocolate chip and coconut ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream; so good! 

After dinner, Brendan and I set off to a free jazz concert and enjoyed dancing 
Reims is in the midst of a 3 week music festival. Perfect timing. 

We did get lots of rain today (mostly sprinkles) and tomorrow has a simular forecast. I got some good pictures of the cathedral tonight: 

Well, it appears a UFO ruined that one--sorry. 

Anyway, I want to tell you that recycling is serious here: 
And on an unrelated note, sometimes you have to pay like over a dollar just to use the bathroom. 
Oh yeah, and I finally got comfortable ordering in French in a restaurant...but now we're headed to Brussels tomorrow. At least half the people in Belguim speak French. 
Here's to my last minute of being 27! Cheers! 
<3 s, b

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