db_staff
The views expressed in db Reader do not represent the views of the drinks business.

There and back again: a champagne lover’s tale

26th June, 2013 by db_staff

An early start, decent Eurotunnel prices and the smooth French péage roads now make a day return journey from the UK to Champagne feasible, enjoyable and affordable, writes Caroline Hampden-White.

Jean-Pierre Redont at Taittinger 1

Jean-Pierre Redont at Taittinger. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

The theme of our visit was grower champagnes and we had appointments with three quite different houses. Introducing someone to this wonderful area for the first time is an exciting and romantic moment; my photographer husband and I were launching my Paris-based sister and her husband into the new world of the Champagne region.

I’m normally sipping a latte at 10am but today we were being greeted by Jean-Pierre Redont at the gates of Taittinger. A charming man, originally from Champagne, J-P was formerly involved in the political world but now he’s Taittinger’s Brand Ambassador.

Certainly Taittinger is a grand marque Champagne but, unlike many competitors, 50% of the grapes come from their own vines and the rest are selected with enormous care from trusted growers. They are also the only family-owned, family-run grand marque champagne left; family spirit and values are evident in their business and produce.

Sinking back into the plush seats of their mini-cinema room, we learnt something of the area’s background and discovered Taittinger’s place within that history: from the thirteenth century Benedictine Abbey of Saint Nicaise, destroyed during the French revolution, to Pierre Taittinger’s debut in the early 20th century. Greater detail of the history would be revealed to us later, during the tour.

We descending several levels via a spiral staircase (there is a lift also) and emerged into a smallish passageway, 16 meters underground. You can still see the original stairs the monks used in the thirteenth century and a few racks holding large format bottles of Comtes de Champagne.

Comtes de Champagne

Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Down another level we emerged into perfect storage and maturation conditions of 90% humidity and 14 degrees centigrade.  The walls are fascinating. A lacework of carvings, made through the ages, covers the limestone. There are many poignant and beautiful examples from the First World War, when the cellars were used as a hospital, and older ones dating back even as far as the middle ages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Beer Development Specialist

Matthew Clark
London, UK

Fine Wine Sales Administrator

Davy's Wine Merchants
London, UK

Business Development Manager - On Trade

FINE+RARE
Central London, GB

Regional Sales Manager

Swallow Associates Ltd
Home Based: North-West England, UK

London Account Manager Role (Full Time)

LITTLE BIRD GIN
Home based with UK travel. , GB

Sales Operations Manager

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Digital Marketing Executive (online content & community manager)

Corney & Barrow Limited
London E1W (near Tower Bridge), UK

Store Manager – Premium Drinks

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
London and the South East, UK

Wine Sales – Northwest England

Gerrard Seel
North West England

Senior On-Trade Sales Manager – English Sparkling Wine Company

COREcruitment
London based with national travel, UK

National Account Manager – RTM – On Trade

COREcruitment
Home based with frequent UK travel

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 14th June 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 14th June 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 14th June 2017

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more