Discover champagne and the historical culture that supports the champagne growers from the crystal making used for flutes to the cellars created by the monks of Clairvaux to store the wine in the 12th century.
In 1129 the Knights of the Temple was created by the Council of Troyes. They are one of the most well known Western Christian military orders of the Middle Ages, and consisted of up to 20,000 members at their peak. The Templars built fortifications in the Holy Land, and across Europe, and were heavily involved in economics, finance, and an early form of banking. The Order of the Templar lives on through various secretive and not so secretive societies today. Even though most of them were finally killed or executed, their rituals and symbols live on through Freemasons. Bernard de Clairvaux was a powerful supporter of the Templars and his Cistercian Order benefited greatly from their protection as they expanded the production and distribution of their wine business. This is the heritage of this region's Champagne.
Aube is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. The territory making up Aube was first attached to France in 1843, following the Treaty of Verdun. After the allied victory over Napoleon at Waterloo the department was occupied by Russian troops between June 1815 and November 1818. Their naming "Champagne" dates to wine growers' revolt in 1919 who wanted to be connected with the Aube rather than Burgundy.
We' ll start the day with a visit to the Crystalleries Royale in Bayel the oldest glass maker in France, first set up by a Venetian glass maker from Murano in 1666. Here you will visit the glass blowing and factory, which supplied mirrors to Versailles as well as other palaces up until 1727. The glass is of very high quality resources in the areas. The furnaces have never been turned off. The glassworks still produces special orders for famous luxury brands.
It's time to visit Champagne Drappier in Urville since 1808 and its 12th century chalk Cistercian Cellars. Formerly supplier to General de Gaulle and makers of the largest bottle of Champagne in the world weighing in at 27 liters. The house specializes in Pinot Noir and balances it with Chardonnay forms its vineyards in Cramant. Lunch at a local restaurant on the side of the Seine or possibly in the vineyards with enough notice and minimum 4 people.
We will spend the rest of the day in the northern part of the Cote de Bar in Bar sur Aube with an interesting visit to a small family producer where you will see the original vaults used by the monks to store the wine and the little chapel above it or we then drive to the Abbey of Clairvaux to see the vaulted arches and and the old prison built by Napoleon Bonaparte. If you like photography you find some amazing things to photograph. Remember to bring your passport as it is required to enter the complex as the active prison is next door.
In the evening discover medieval Troyes regional specialities and discover a medieval city know for its textile industry, famous stain glass windows and workshops, Prunelle of Troyes, Jacquot Chocolate, AOX Charouce Cheese, AAAAA Andouillettes and Briennois Sauerkraut.
We will spend time with the owner of a small family estate who will introduce to his wine and Champagnes in his cellar. Visit the largest Maison de Vignerons since 1956 in the Aube bringing together 130 wine growers covering about 325 hectares with 90% producing Pinot Noir. The soil, vines faces south-south east with sheltered exposure so the grapes can be harvested at full maturity and fill around 750,000 bottles a year. See the mega large Aluminum tanks and have a brief overview of the company and Cooperative where Pinot Noir is the specialty. In the cellar where you see the soil samples and do a tasting of the clear wine for introduction to the evolution of the process and tasting from clear to final product.
Champagne from the department of the Marne is found on on Cretaceous grounds, Champagne of the Aube is on Jurassic grounds. They are thus particular champagnes. This area of Champagne includes Les Riceys and Bar-sur-Seine. Discover The little village of Les Riceys filled with narrow streets and old stone houses and churches. It is the only are in Champagne which is allowed to producer 3 AOCs. Champagne, Coteaux Champenoise and the Rose de Riceys a red still wine with an extraordinary orange/red color. This is the wine that Louis IX loved. Not the champagne as we know it today.