Early summer 2011 saw eight of the team from both hotels travel to France to visit Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy. Travelling by Eurostar we were ably navigated out of Paris by our driver Peter. Once out of the city we headed for Troyes and Deveaux Champagne, they produce our house champagne. The highlight of this visit was being able to taste 2 different Pinot Noir wines and a Chardonnay which will be blended together to create our champagne. It was helpful to smell and taste the different characteristics of champagne in each wine before they are blended together to create the finished product.
Our visit to Chablis was hosted by Laroche. Our guide was one of their Wine Ambassadors, Madame Gwenael Laroche, the very charming wife of Michel Laroche. She convinced us of their passion for all things white, crisp, delicate and beautiful - including flowers, beautiful French blouses and Italian rings and of course stunning French wine. All of us are hoping to get an invite back to their annual end of harvest party when close friends of the family party all day and crush grapes using their feet and the still working thirteenth century wine press (please be assured neither the press nor their feet come into contact with the wines we sell!!!)
Burgundy. It's reassuring to know that it has taken the French over 900 years to make this an area that grows some of the most fantastic wines in one of the most confusing areas! Terroir was invented here. Each village grows divergent styles of wine and every field has varying soil or sunlight with rows of vines owned and controlled by many different growers, all with differing ideas, budgets and passions. So our advice - follow the grower not the village name, or follow negotion rather than the grower, or the village if you are not sure! Better still, let us take the strain and choose a burgundy from our list. We tried some cracking Mersault from a barrel trader come wine blender and stunning Puligny from Francois, son of the famous and retired Louis Carillon.
All in all a great trip, for us as we expand our knowledge and understanding, and our guests as we have added some fantastic wines to our list from each area.
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