Reasons to come to Champagne in 2012

If you’re wondering about when is a good time to come to Champagne in 2012, then let me help you.  Anytime is a great time, but there are some special events happening this year that you won’t want to miss, especially if you love the bubbly as much as we do.

If you’re a real champagne aficionado, you won’t want to miss these two special tasting events in April, dedicated to smaller champagne makers:

Terres et Vins (actual date to be confirmed, but will be early April) and the other is Les Artisans du Champagne, Reims on the 17th April 2012 at Régates Rémois (Reims Rowing Club)

At each event, some 15-25 selected champagne makers present their champagnes and often the still wines from which champagne is blended.  This is a truly fascinating experience, and whichever event you choose, you’ll come away with a brilliant insight into the skill of making champagne, making your next champagne moment amazing!

On the last weekend in May,  there’s La Foire de la Gastronomie et du Vin in the village of Mailly Champagne.  This is a fabulously French,  informal and rustic fair and on a warm day,  it’s magical. The roads in the village are closed off, and the champagne producers open their doors, set up stalls outside and welcome you to taste and discover.  Just stroll around the village tasting food, wines  from around France and of course champagne, and soak up the atmosphere.

The Fete Henri IV in Ay, only happens every two years, and it’s happening this July 2012. So don’t miss it or you’ll have to wait another 2 years.   Come on down on the first weekend of July to sample the delights of the champagnes of the former capital town of champagne.  There’s “open house” at  many of the champagne makers, including Bollinger, street barbeques, open-air music, all sorts of food stalls and a great atmosphere.

The Harvest normally happens in September, but it really depends on the kind of weather we’ll be having, so I’ll keep you updated if you want to come and experience the grape picking .  Last year it was all over by the end of August and I was lucky enough to be part of the team at Champagne Henriet Bazin for just one memorable day.  We began the day with an Oenovasion Vineyard Tour in Nicolas’ Landrover Discovery where we literally went off the edge of a cliff into the vineyards!  After a simple lunch of traditional grape-pickers’ fare, with champagne of course, we were whisked off into the vineyards again but this time to pick and harvest the grapes.  If you want to know what it feels like to be part of the fabric of this region, then you won’t want to miss this experience.  Watch this space!

With summer behind us, and the harvest  taken care of, we can turn our attention to one of the best wine fairs I’ve ever seen.  It’s the “Foire des Vignerons Indépendents” (Reims Wine Festival) and it’s at the Parc des Expositions  in Reims from the 9-11th November.  Another great place to experience the atmosphere of Champagne, with not only champagne makers, but wine makers from all over France who gather here to meet with wine lovers like you.  If you want to stock up on your wines and champagnes for Christmas, at prices you’d never see outside of France, then you won’t want to miss this event.

 

And to round off the year in true Champagne-style,  the annual Habits de Lumières Festival in Epernay  in December is  a spectacular experience.  It’s happening in 2012 on the 7th – 9th and it’s another great opportunity to be part of the fun of Champagne life.  Many of the big Champagne Houses on the famous Avenue de Champagne open their doors to welcome us.  There’s food, music, street entertainment and fireworks, and of course, champagne!

And we haven’t even mentioned all the champagne houses to visit and good restaurants to try, village festivals to enjoy and the culture and heritage to experience, at any time of the year!

Les Molyneux is your home from home in the heart of Champagne.  We welcome guests from all over the world, helping you to discover the hidden gems through advice, tours, tastings and luxury accommodation.  Visit our website to book your next trip

http://bedandbreakfastinchampagne.com

Gifts for foodies – Champagne Gastronomie

Our Champagne Gastronomie Gift Box is perfect for all those foodies in your life.  Packed full with Champagne regional specialities you simply won’t find anywhere else, we’re certain that this gift will delight and surprise anyone who loves to enjoy good food.  Here’s what you’ll find inside

  • Fossier Savoury Biscuits made specially to be enjoyed with champagne
  • 3 different flavours of mustard from local producer, Clovis – curry, cucumber, tarragon
  • Fossier chocolate and almond biscuits to enjoy anytime
  • 3 different flavours of vinegar to spice up your salad dressing – mango, raspberry, prune
  • Chocolates filled with champagne liqueurs – marc, fine and ratafia
  • Unique and delicious salad-dressing oil made from the pips, skins and stalks of the champagne grapes

A delight to the tastebuds and all wrapped up in a beautiful gift box for any appreciative palate.

Price includes all contents, gift box and shipping

Champagne Gastronomie
Our Champagne Gastronomie Gift Box is perfect for all those foodies in your life. Packed full with Champagne regional specialities you simply won’t find anywhere else. Click on the title to read more

 

 

Gifts for Her – Champagne Beauty

A luxurious selection of skin care products made from Champagne!  Perhaps you’ve heard of certain film stars bathing in champagne to keep their skin looking good.   Now you can do it too!  Our Champagne Beauty Gift Box contains the following products from the Elays Champagne range:

  • Exfoliating soap made from the champagne vines                                  125g
  • Gentle exfoliating shower gel with actual champagne                            200ml
  • Soft and silky exfoliating skin cream with champagne                           200ml
  • Special sensitive skin hand cream made with champagne                     50ml
  • Luxurious small fluffy towel with Edmond Barnaut motif

Beautifully presented in our gift box, spoil and delight yourself or someone special this Christmas

Price includes all contents, gift box and shipping

 

Champagne Beauty
An exclusive selection of skin care products made from Champagne! Yes really! Indulge yourself and your loved ones in these unique beauty products - you're worth it! Click on the title to read more

B&B moments in Champagne

What do you do when you’re driving up a narrow street and someone has left their car parked so you can’t get past?  Do you honk your horn and wait patiently, and still no-one comes?  Or do you get in the car, seeing that the keys are in it, and move it so you can pass?  That’s exactly what Nicolas Rainon did this week, when I was invited to experience an “Oenovasion Vendanges” – a Harvesting Discovery Day!  That was just the beginning of an eventful and amazing day.

We climbed into his Landrover Discovery at 10AM and then found ourselves driving along the disused railway line called the CBR which used to connect all of the villages along the Montagne de Reims until it was finally taken up in the 60s.  Then he stopped while we admired the view, and then he advanced literally over the cliff!  I must confess I didn’t look!  And then we were in the vineyards literally, driving along grass tracks while he was explaining how to tell the difference between the different vines, and how in fact 50million years ago, the chalky terrain now known as Champagne was created. Nicolas is a mine of information about this region.

Next we climbed 102 steps up the lighthouse in Verzenay while he explained just how small each parcel of vines can be and why each grape farmer must spread his parcels far apart to avoid localised adverse weather conditions and complete destruction of his livelihood.  It was all truly fascinating.

After a hard morning’s study, we then pitched up at his wife, Marie-Noelle’s champagne house where we were treated to a harvester’s lunch and 4 matching champagnes.  Marie Noelle is passionate about the skill of matching champagne and food and is in fact, teaching this skill to their 6 year old daughter, Marie Amelie, by never mixing flavours on the same plate of food.

Then came the hard part.  Out into the vineyards we were taken by Nicolas, this time by the road (!) and we each took our secateurs and a bucket and were given instructions on how to pick the grapes.  When we had all picked a bucket-full, we emptied them into a large box, and then followed the boxes to the pressoir, where we witnessed the pressing of the grapes we had picked.

The press is so sophisticated, that it only presses the mature grapes and leaves everything else un-pressed, even the ladybirds!

The results of our hard work will not be known for at least 4 years, but I’ve no doubt that it will be an amazing cuvee that everyone will be talking about for years to come!

Happy days :-)

 

If you’d like to know how you too can be part of this exciting event on the Champagne calendar in 2012, email now at yvonne@yvonnehalling.com before all the places are taken.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon :-)

 

A Walk in the (Verzy) Forest

Today was such a beautiful day, my daughters and I took a stroll through the wonderful forest of Verzy and shot some video so you can see what it’s like.  Rare beech trees grow here, called “Les Faux” which literally means the false ones, but they’re not false, they’re real!  Instead of growing straight up like a regular beech tree, they grow this way and that in a gnarled and hap-hazard way, and cast their branches right down to the ground, making a sort of umbrella or igloo shape.  Rare indeed.

Take a look at the video here… enjoy!

More Clicquot

Continuing the Veuve Clicquot theme that I started on a previous post, I took Pepper out into the vineyards today, behind the Clicquot Manoir here in Verzy, and discovered some little yellow signs alongside the vines.  Each sign had a name on it with a date, and I was fascinated to learn what they were for.

Take a look at the video and you’ll find out.

Enjoy!

Veuve Clicquot’s Mansion in Verzy

I was out and about with my dog today, so I took three short videos on the lovely mansion here in Verzy, built by Mme Clicquot in the mid 1800s for entertaining her very important clients from the European aristocracy. It’s still used to today to entertain VIP clients, by invitation only. Take a look at the videos here… Enjoy!

Sexual confusion in the vineyards

This is a short video about how the grape farmers stop the rot caused by two particular butterflies.  They attach small brown plastic pods to the wires which support the vines, inside of which is the sexual hormones of the female butterflies.  The emission of the hormones confuses the male butterflies and so they can’t find the eggs to fertilise!  I thought that was so clever when it was explained to me by Isabelle Corbeaux of Champagne Pierre Deville and Veronique Lallement of Champagne Lallement, two lovely French ladies who are part of my English class here in Verzy. 

You can see what I’m talking about in this video below.

Enjoy!

Out and about in Reims

Today was such a glorious day again, I decided to shoot some video of Reims.  The new Tramway is now operational, and transporting people around this historic city, easily and smoothly.  The cathedral looks fantastic having just been cleaned (well some of it, at least) and so I wanted to showcase the city here.  

Reims is the only place in the world to have three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the magnificent gothic cathedral, the Palais du Tau and the Basilique St. Remi.  

The cathedral was first constructed in 1097 and was used to crown the Kings of France, before they did away with all that during the French Revolution! 

It was originally a Roman town, and when they began excavations for the tramway, the work was considerably delayed due to archeologists having to be informed whenever an artefact was discovered, and there were many! 

If you’ve been to Reims in the last few years, you’ll know how disruptive the works were, but now it’s all done, I hope you’ll agree that it was worth it.  The city looks lovely now and well worth a visit.   

I hope you enjoy these videos.  Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think of Reims.

More reasons to visit Champagne

Since returning to Champagne just over a year ago, I have been surprised at the amount of development that’s been going on in the region.  Reims is expanding, growing and bringing itself into the 21st century with style and elegance, and it’s a joy to watch. 

First the arrival of the high speed train TGV in 2007, then a new southern bypass around the city, and then lots of new businesses springing up and the opening of  IKEA.  Next is the official inauguration of the smart new tramway in the city centre on the 16th April.

It’s buzzing, thriving and upbeat.  A refreshing change from other recession-hit areas. 

Take a look at this great article in the Guardian, then come on down and see for yourself.

Enjoy!