Lily Bollinger once said about champagne:
“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I’m thirsty.”
Such is the ambivalence created by this pale tipple that packs nearly 50 million bubbles in every bottle … and so humble too when you consider that its external appearance says so little about the labour and passion that has gone into its production.
So, we were in the Champagne region again – a holiday triggered partly by an invitation to accompany our good friend’s family on their first visit to the area, but mainly because our wine ‘cellar’ was bereft of white wines. Those of you who know me well will know that I only drink French wines – red Bordeaux to be precise … and the only white wines I tolerate are ones with bubbles … naturally 😉
Anyway, we were installed in a modern and comfortable Chambres D’Hotes in Reuil with a sporty itinerary devised by our good friend David that will have taken us from Châtillon (to visit the commanding papal satue of Urbane II) to the south-east extreme of the Cote des Blanc to gorge ourselves on foie-gras and other duck by-products, punctuated by degustations at various producers such as Marx Coutelas (Venteuil), Guy Charlemagne & Launois (Mesnil s/ Oger) and Vilmart (Rilly-la-Montagne) to name a few. But the visit of the trip (and the one that scores the highest points for hospitality) must surely go to Philipponnat, and in particuar to Nicoletta who gave us treats that I doubt we will ever encouter again, treats such as:
… but our real thanks go to David who organinsed this vist through Charles Philipponnat himself … which just goes to prove, it’s not what you kow but who you know that gets you nice things in life.
A couple of discoveries worth mentioning include the red ‘illegal champagne’ that our B&B host produced one evening (actually, it wasn’t a particularly great experience but nevertheless it needed to be done) and the rare rosé from Edouard Barnaut (Bouzy), one of the few still wines carrying the Coteaux Champenois AOC that stand out in the middle of what is afterall bubbles country.
So we are back home now, and our ‘cellar’ is looking a little less pathetic … but all the excess of the past few days have caught up with me in the form of abdominal cramps, so I’m on the wagon again … until such time when I feel lonely, hungry or thirsty 😉