My tour de France started in Reims today with a visit at Veuve Clicquot. This famous Champagne house can lay claim to a number of things. Madame Clicquot was one of the first female industrialists, when she took the reign more than 200 years ago. Her most audacious move was towards the end of the Napoleon war, when she managed to ship a large amount of Champagne across closed borders to St. Petersburg for the Russians to celebrate their victory. At the end of her time, she handed the business over to a German businessman. A French patriot she was not.
The caves are over 1000 years old, initially a quarry to build the city
The old ship wreck bottle
I only tried the standard Veuve Clicquot blend. A special feature is that this Champagne is always predominantly made from red grapes, currently 50% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier. Only the juice is used, of course, so the colour is white to golden. The result is a relatively full flavoured wine, with a big mouthfeel. This Champagne is a bit fruity, but the flavours are complex. Dominant is green apple, but there is also raspberry and fig. The finish is not as crisp as I would have liked. This Champagne is best drunk as an aperitif, I think.
This was an interesting tour, and a good start. Tomorrow, the Champagne tasting will start in earnest.