One of my most favorite things in the world is Champagne. My love for it is endless, so much so that the name of this blog pays homage to one of its most endearing and whimsical qualities. I have visited Épernay, a city within the Champagne region where some of the world’s leading Champagne houses exist, three times (here’s a bit about a previous visit) and absolutely cannot wait to return. Traveling here is like going to a candy store for me; so much Champagne to taste and so little time!
This September, we embarked on the hour-long train ride from Paris early in the morning, and for this visit, I was most looking forward to a tour of the prestigious and newly renovated Moët & Chandon. We had visited nearly 10 years ago in 2010, and the house had since gone under some major updates, including the areas in the mansion which were newly available for public viewing. A short walk from the Épernay train station, we arrived before open and enjoyed the beautifully planted courtyard before it was time to purchase our tour tickets. We opted for the traditional tour, which offers a glass of their Brut Impérial Champagne at the conclusion. One of the new additions to the tour was a museum-quality display of historical artifacts and timelines to study as you wait for your tour to begin. One of my favorite artifacts was a collection of original bottle stamps and labels from long ago, as well as calligraphed menus for important dinners dating back to Napoleon’s era.
The tour guide takes you around public areas of the mansion before descending into the cellars, all the while painting a history of the house’s storied past while highlighting the winemaking process from terrior, grape varieties and harvest to blending, maturation in the cellars, riddling and finally, disgorgement. The conclusion of the tour takes place in a new tasting room where you are offered a glass according to your tour ticket, and finally, you are welcomed to linger in the marvelous gift shop. We left with quite a few goodies including some Champagne bottle stoppers, of which you can never have too many.