We had a lovely drive from Paris to Rheims, and then on to Epernay (which I always confuse with the heroine in Les Miz, Epinine….)
Anyway, learned a few new things, like the fact that modern champenoise methode, freezes the sediment in the neck of the bottle and then pops it out.
Also learned that the vats have progressed from wood to large ceramic lockers lined with tiles to the current stainless steel.
We started at G.H.Mumm, pronounced Moom, not Mum. After a tour of the Cathedral, and a lovely lunch of salad on the square behind said cathedral, we headed down the road to Epernay and the cellars of Mercier.
This guy Mercier had it going on…He wanted to mass produce champagne and sell it to the masses. He didn’t think of it as an elitist drink. He introduced it at the same international exposition as the Eiffel Tower and he introduced it with a free ballon ride with a souvenir glass, the cost of both covered by the margin on the champagne.
He treated his workers well and even decorated the umpteen miles of caves with plaster bas relief to make the caves lighter and more enjoyable! For visitors, there’s a tram ride!