WBW 25: Champagne

This year we explored the Route des Vins in Alsace for 5 days. At the same time last year, we were drinking our way through the Route du Champagne, in Champagne. Champagne is a region in the north of France, which gives its name to the famous bubbly. Funny thing, as we were to discover, is that only wines produced in this region following a very strict production can call themselves Champagne. Talk about ‘what’s in a name’…

When we booked our trip we had no idea what we were in for. The Route du Champagne is an amazing journey of bubbly and more bubbly, small and big producers alike, the less known as well as the household names side by side. Every village we visited had its own producers, claiming to have the best Champagne. The tastings are a must, however count on being in a constant sparkly state for the duration of the visit. For once I can say I had Champagne for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

We had the chance to visit different producers and try as many different Champagnes. The brut and the demi-sec, as well as millésimé, rosé or cuvée special. Further we discovered the Blanc de Blancs (made only using the Chardonnay grape), and the Blanc de Noirs (made using only Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier). But I am not going to go into the technicalities of the Champagne making. Rather share with you my favourites. One thing we established at the very beginning: I am an extra-brut, ideally a Blanc de Blancs kind of girl.

As you can see I love the theme of this Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Sam and Fred over at Becks&Posh. I love bubblies!

To my absolute delight, I still have a reasonable amount of Champagne bottles left. All I need to find now is a reason to open them (if one needs such reasons…). The Champagne for today’s WBW is a discovery of last year, a firm favourite ever since: the Colin Cuvée Alliance. On the left you can see the J. de Telmont Grande Reserve, on the right the rosé Doyard Mahe. Never heard of them? Even better as they are all small producers.

We came across the Colin Domain by complete coincidence. It was more or less a wrong turn, which took us to their vineyards. However once there, we stayed the whole afternoon. The tasting came with an art exhibition and a visit of the production site. We happened to stumble across the ‘Champagne producers support local art’ days, and thus Colin was supporting the local jewellery artists.

Back to the Champagne, we got to taste the whole Colin range – the Cuvée Alliance brut and the demi-sec, the Cuvée Blanche de Castille Premier Cru (a Blanc de Blancs brut), the Rose Premier Cru brut, and the absolute highlight the Grand Cru Millésime (again, a Blanc de Blancs brut).

The Colin Cuvée Alliance is pure freshness, bubbles and a slight bite on the tongue, a raw and dry Champagne. An almost transparent golden colour, with thousands of bubbles. That is best I can describe the lightness, the sparkle and nervousness of this Champagne. The Colin Cuvée Alliance is a smooth, elegant Champagne, made of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Be prepared for a perfectly balanced Champagne. And at 13,00euro a bottle it is more than just a bargain!

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  • Sam

    Great post!

    I too, have been on vacation in Champagne. Well, twice actually. I am a girl who likes my bubbles too!

    thanks for sharing your tips.

    Here’s my tip in return:

    The only good reason needed for opening a bottle of champers is the fact you are still alive today! Champagne is for drinking, not hoarding 😉

    I am working on the round up and hope to have it finished in the next few days.

  • Whit Stevens

    Great pictures. Also, thanks for explanation of Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs… useful for a wine juvenile like myself. Okay, I’m probably more like a wine infant.

  • The Corkdork

    Excellent post and photos! I like your writing style. I also have to say that Brussels is one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever visited in Europe. I’m sure you love it there. I’ll be putting a link to you on The Corkdork – J

  • Andreea

    sam, great round up and totally agree: champagne does not need a special occasion.

    whit stevens: i am just as much a novice, but i guess the basics get me around 🙂

    corkdork: thank you! always so nice to hear someone enjoys my blog. glad you liked brussels. will link to you as well 🙂

  • L

    Champagne Colin is our favourite… We’ve been twice to sample and, more importantly, buy. Last time we bought 6 Alliance, 6 Tradition and splashing out 6 Rose.

    We only visited it the first time because of it’s name and the reccommendation in the Guide Dussert-Gerber (www.guidedesvins.com). Once tasted we bought and made sure our next itinery to France specifically included Domain Colin.