|Grape vines in the Abbey at Hautvillers|
Our first stop outside Paris was the town of Epernay where they make Dom Perignon Champagne.
We had been invited on a special tour of the Abbey at Hautvillers – the birth place of Dom Perignon champagne and the resting place of the monk Dom Perignon. The monks at Hautvillers’ motto was work and prayer, and their work was making wine. Dom’s object in life was to make the best wine in the world and he did.
|Dom Perignon's Tomb|
Only sparkling wine made from the champagne area can be called champagne and all Dom Perignon champagne is vintage, it takes years to produce. All fermentation is done in the bottle and the bubbles are very small. It is wonderful! At first champagne was made pale and still and they were trying to stop the bubbles being created by a second fermentation that happened in the spring. When it became fashionable to drink wine with bubbles in England, the likes of Dom Perignon tried to control the bubble process so that the bottles didn’t explode. Dom’s innovation was in the development of blending the grapes before they went to the press. Whatever his contribution, I am sure that champagne is all the better for it.
After the tour of the Abbey, we went back to Epernay to have lunch at the Trianon Residence. Mozart used to play there! The inside decor of the house reminds me of Versailles on a smaller scale. Very ornate, gold everywhere, very French. The food and champagne was of course, wonderful. Many thanks to Ben and Julia for organising this for us.