Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Champagne Testing

As born and brought up in a typical Indian family, even saying the word "Alcohol" was not really allowed. So drinking alcoholic drinks was ofcourse completely prohibited. :) So ofcourse i was not knowing much about types of alcoholic drinks, or anything much about it.
After coming to Germany I came to know very first time about German Beer Culture. Here beer is not just alcohol , its a culture. Every small town has their own special beer brands , of which they are really proud. I got a chance to visite the biggest German Beer festival... Oct. Fest and was really impressed with it. Big tents, live folk music in the tents , lot of people drinking 1 liter of beer glasses one after another and those waitresses holding this big 1 liters of glasses atleast 10 at a time togather in both hands , in their traditional dresses...all is just amezing.
Well going in those tents and not drinking beer is definately a crime :) ofcourse i did not make that crime. :) But i am really not a big fan of beer. I like more Wine and Champagne.
2 Years ago one of my friends told me about Champagne Testing in france and since then wanted to go there. Finally this year managed to go to Champagne Region of france for Champagne Testing. Its really good to get all this information and see the cellers of these Champagne producers.
We visted 2 of the many Champagne producers....one of which was the biggest Champagne producer and another was very small but very old Champagne producer. It was definately big difference in both the tours.
The biggest producer i visted was Moët & Chandon . It was a hour tour with testing at the end. But it was all commercial. tour costs 14 euro if we want to test only one of their many champagne types. and ofcours cost increases if u want to test more.
Originally it was only Moët but then after few years one of the doughters in the family married into a Chandon family and this son-in-law was very active in this family business of Moët. so after few years the name changed to Moët & Chandon . And currently it is one of the biggest and famous Champagne producer. They produce around 26,000,000 bottles of champagne per year. Champagne is nothing but a Sparkling Wine . Only the Sparkling Wine produced in this chanpagne region of france is allowed to have a name champagne. This is all because of the special quality of graps produced in this region. All the work of cutting graps is made by hand and not by machine. In chanpagne production many steps are done with hands. Champagne growing region is about 34,000 hectares. Out of this almost 1000 hectors region belongs to Moët & Chandon.
There is one special type of champagne and i.e. called "Vintage Champagne" This means that it is only made in the best year, and all grapes used to make it were harvested in the same year. Ofcourse it costs more than the normal one. One of the tour guides told us that they are expecting that this year could be a vintage year.
Another small producer we visited was Forget-Brimont. Its one of the small producer but very old brand. This name is the combination of the names of the owner and his wife. Here ofcourse there was no official tour of the celler with money but we had an inofficial tour and champagne testing after that. It was more personal tour. The woman who showed us all their process and gave information was really emotionally attached with this brand. The owner of this brand is now very old and his 2 doughters are not willing to look after this family business and so he is selling now his champagne business to another person. I felt little sad when i heard this. The annual production of Forget-Brimont is around 280 000 bottles. Very less compared to other big brands but test is equally good.
There are many more producers in this area and may be I can visite few more of them next year. Till that time I will enjoy my current champagne collection :)


  1. Hey Anagha

    Great Blog!! and good to know you love wines and champagne as same is the case with me; my Husband is a member of wine society of India and we recieve 10 bottles complimentary every year from the Society. So next time to are travelling to India do get in touch with me; we can enjoy some fantastic Indian wines. Cheers ;)

  2. Hi Manisha,
    Thanx for the offer. We do will meet u if u give ur details :)