Thaddeus was one lucky guy last month, traversing France like a oenophile on a mission! He ate, drank and was merry for all of us and jotted some notes to share–and to make us jealous!
Here’s his trek through Champagne–both the region and the sparkling stuff:
My journey began on Oct. 15 when I arrived in Reims, France. I rented a car and drove to a lovely little B&B in the heart of Reims. The next day I drove to the village of Vertus home on Duval Leroy Champagne and tasted through various champagnes that were outstanding, Duval Leory has always been one of my favorite Champagne houses over the years.
The House of Krug in my opinion, is the best juice ever made! We tasted through vintages from 1998 to 2007 and all were amazing. The 2000 vintage was exceptional with such lively acidity that jumped out of the glass.
The next day was a magical one, starting at GH Mumm, where there 25 million bottles underground and eight different styles of Champagnes made. Some 50% of its wines are exported to the U.S. Mumm has an underground museum that chronologically takes you through the art of making Champagne from the very early days. The visit concluded with a GH Mumm two-Star Michelin Chef preparing a legendary lunch in the vineyard at the windmill, overlooking the vineyard. Much thanks to GH Mumm, Agnes and our tour guide Claudette Legrand.
Then there is the 200-year-old Champagne house Perrier Jouêt. WOW!it is located in the heart of Epenany on Champagne Boulevard. The visit began with Ivan, a young historian who was extremely knowledgeable about the historical background of Perrier Jouêt, and how the art work is relevant to the history of this great estate. The tour and tasting were incredible, and the evening concluded with a five-star dinner with my long time friend Agnes Jones. The Champagnes we tasted during the visit and dinner were simply outstanding starting with there Grand Burt, which is its largest seller. The vintage Belle Epoque Rose and Brut the creamy texture on the palate with the lively acidity were remarkable.
The end of all ends were the Belle Epoque Blanc de Blanc. This Champagne sets the bench mark for what a great Champagne should taste like. In short, it was perfect.
Next I traveled to Nicolas Feuillattte, the largest producer of Champagne on my visit. It is part of 85 different co-ops of about 400 champagnes. The tour was conducted my Alex and she was very knowledgeable about how this huge operation works so efficiently. The tasting was conducted by David Henault, who has produced 12 different Champagnes for Nicolas over the past six years and is responsible for 100 different Champagnes for the co-op.
He took me through the various Champagnes, of which the Blue label brut reserve is its No. 1-selling champagne. David makes a rose and Brut that’s aged in oak barrels. The cuveé 225 Brut and rose are truly outstanding and show the depths of his wine-making ability.
The tasting didn’t stop there. I was fortunate enough to taste thie high-end ’04 and ’95 Palmes dí Or Rose and brut. Wow! This is the best terrior-specific 100% Pinot Rose I’ve ever tasted and the Palmes di OR was simply amazing.