A Toast to the Champagne Houses of France – Images by Points and Travel
As I raised my glass for a sip, the effervescence of the bubbly tickled my nose, just as I imagined it would have done to monk Dom Perignon had he discovered that his blended grapes made such a fuss. Even though this revered beverage became popular a full century after his death, the rumor that he created Champagne is just one of the legends that make up this region’s rich history. Thanks to its terroir, which represents its climate, its chalky soil, and hilly lands, the Champagne region of France has made quite a name for itself. It is associated with haute bourgeoisie, romance, and celebration. There clearly is no wine more evocative than Champagne, the king of sparking wine.
By law, no one outside of this region is allowed to call sparkling wine Champagne. Spain may have its Cava, Italy its Spumante, and California its sparkling wine, but Champagne only comes from Champagne, France. And there’s no getting away with trying to cheat the system! Scientists today can prove the clear existence of a unique biogeographical fingerprint based on the types and amounts of fungi and bacteria present in a grape (or crushed grape, in this case).
These may be the only Champagne houses in the world, but there are more than 100 of them in this region. They are a must-see for any luxury traveler visiting Paris. A mere 29 minute train ride on the TGV from the Charles de Gaulle airport will put you smack dab in the middle of Champagne faster than your taxi would get you to your hotel in Paris!
“A single glass of Champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced; the imagination is stirred, the wits become more nimble.” – Winston Churchill
The two main towns for Champagne production in the region are Reims and Epernay, located respectively North and South of the Mountain of Reims. Both can rightfully lay claim to being the center of the Champagne world; the major Champagne Houses are headquartered at one or the other.