AUBE WINE ROUTE in CHAMPAGNE
Sparkling wine for most individuals may only be drunk on special occasions and their go to choice when they want to put their head down would be a simple glass of wine. It is no surprise however, for the locals in Champagne region, France, having a bottle of their local bubbly chilled and ready in the fridge at all times is just something of a norm. Visiting the Champagne region has provided me with a profound appreciation towards this magnificent baroque beverage. Taking into account that most wine estates make a sparking wine using a traditional method, which is very complex, it is no wonder that the name Champagne is exclusively designated to the region.
The historic province of Champagne stuns by its beautiful views of hillsides, vineyards, houses and wine cellars that are protected by UNESCO World Heritage. There are about 260 Champagne houses, representing over 70% of production and 90% export. The region is defined by five wine districts: Vallee de la Marne, Montagne de Reims, Cote de Sezanne, Cote des Blancs and Aube; in total there are over 2000 vineyards to visit.
While visiting this region one is to realise how much the history of wine making is deeply embedded within the culture and pride of the locals. It also embraces modern sparkling wine making with more experimental blends and organic varieties that sees young production houses emerge.
From world renowned prestigious champagne houses to classic ones, while visiting Aube, Champagne de Barfontarc, is one to mention. In the 1960s around 50 wine makers from the local villages of Baroville, Fontaine and Arconville united to create a Champagne house in Baroville, what is now known as the Champagne de Barfontarc. Champagne de Barfontarc with their roughly 20 employees have grown the brand over the past few decades internationally. Their wines have won numerous awards (including Decanter Bronze 2017) and are listed every year in the Guide Hachette - the most popular wine guide in France.
Champagne De Barfontarc wines have a depth of flavour with delicious green fruit aromas highly influenced by the yeasty character from the bottle ageing. Wines own a remarkable quality and kinfolk, are certainly below their price level. Like most champagne houses, their wines are dominated by three main traditional grape sorts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Wine of recommendation
Blanc de Noir would surely be one to highlight. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, this wine depicts aromas of green apples and pears, hints of apricot, with the toasty and buttery spicy character from ageing. It is great for every occasion due to balanced palette, lovely freshness and beautiful bubbles.
This champagne is great as an aperitif. It goes well with the cheese palette, beef dishes such as Roast Beef or Pastitsio. The lovely bubbly goes superbly with the a nice vegetarian risotto such as Lemon Saffron Barley Risotto.
Highly recommend booking a 'One Day Harvester' activity where you have an opportunity to spend half a day in the vineyards picking grapes as a true harvester. The views are amazingly beautiful, you are able to learn more about the wine making from the experts that is also accompanied with few glasses of champagne to taste. To top it all up, after your hard work you are served a homemade comforting lunch that is so delicious with the company of other pickers. Did I mention? There is some French cheese...