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Champagne in pictures

The Champagne vineyards were in verdant form, here seen looking towards the beginning of the Marne Valley from Hautvilliers.

This time of year requires some of the most intensive vineyard work…

…particularly as the year is some two weeks late. Nonetheless, the flowering has begun. Pictured here in Hautvilliers it is a little behind other crus such as Aÿ which began a week or so ago. Gosset cellar master, Jean-Pierre Mareigner, told db that the harvest was likely to begin in early October – a situation not unlike 1983 and 1985 he added.

The church of Saint Pierre at Hautvilliers was as peaceful as ever.

A side of its character echoed in the detail of the old choir stalls.

Fellow trippers make their way towards the rather incongruous lighthouse in the midst of Verzenay’s vineyards.

And Richard Woodard (centre in dark blue) grins at the prospect of more Champagne after a, gentle, stroll.

The Sun came out again in time for a quick visit to Reims Cathedral.

Leaving the statue of Ste Jeanne d’Arc bathed in rather angelic light. Traditionally the cathedral where the French kings were crowned, Reims was held by the English during the Hundred Years War until it was recaptured by the Maid in 1429; allowing Charles VII to be crowned there.

From the heavens to the depths. It wouldn’t be a trip to Champagne without a descent underground, here into Gosset’s new cellars in Epernay.

Bought from Laurent-Perrier in 2009, the cellars are home to a distinctly more devilish-looking Bacchus.

And this rather more friendly, beret-sporting, chap…

The cellar walls bear witness to previous inhabitants as well. Here a certain Jurczak of Connecticut, who stopped by in December 1944 with the US Army on the drive to the Rhine…

…and ghosts of wars past, Guillaume Henri left his mark while on leave from the front in 1915.

No better way than to drive away the cold of the cellar than with a magnum of 1985, disgorged in 2004.

And where there are vines there are often roses, which were as equally in bloom as the vineyards here at Hostellerie La Briqueterie.

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