21 November, 2001

Here we are

Our vines grow in the extreme end of the Côte des Blancs, south of Épernay. It is an area, famous for its Chardonnay. The same that mainly grows on the three hectares of vineyards of our family. We grow mainly Meunier-vines.

There are even a bit of Pinot Noir-vines on the plot with the pretty name Belles Feuilles (beautiful leaves). It is an ancient name... not something we have made up to make it sound good.

But somehow it does actually create a good feeling to know you are to work in the Belles Feuilles, much more than the Vieilles grand méres (old grandmothers) even the latter get some points too for the fun.

The last plot in the family - the Crochettes - has somehow, even after I have taken thousands of photos, not made it into one of them.

Our vineyards are placed in the commune of Soulières, which is autres cru.

Soulières is placed halfway up a slope, on the top there is forest. There is a magnificent view of vineyards and the big plain, the Champagne Crayeuse, covered by fields with wheat, sugar beet, sunflowers and similar crops as far as your eye will get you. Far, that is. According to Alains uncle, he can see a certain tower of a church, known to be 40 kilometers away.

The farm of the family in Soulières, where Alain's mother currently lives. The place has been inhabited probably since the 13th century. The current building is from the middle of the 19th century.

We live in the Grand Cru-village Verzy, placed on the northern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. It is a ridge, about 15 kilometers from Reims. The top is covered with a big forest, the slopes with vineyards. The flat land of the valley below is covered with crops like wheat and sugar beets.

Verzy is also a very old village. The destructions after World War 1 must have been huge, since there are few ancient buildings left.

You can recognice the layout of the ancient village in the way the streets meander and in the closeness of the houses. This must be the nightmare come true of any cityplanner. I find it charming, which is one of the reasons, why we live in one of the old houses (from the middle of the 19th century, with an attic reconstructed with amongst others old telephone posts).

If you take a stroll in the forest, you will see how the floor is full of craters. Holes from grenates. Today everything grows vigorously here, but the terrors of the Grand Guerre as they call it in french can be spotted if you open your eyes and imagination.

The vines of Verzy grow on slopes. Pinot Noir is the main crop in the Montagne de Reims. But the last 20 years the Chardonnay has been in vogue, and it now covers 20 percent of the slopes here.

Blancs de Blancs champagnes made of 100 percent Chardonnay from the Montagne de Reims has a completely different taste than those from the Côte des Blancs. Some people say this is due to terroir, and others say, that terroir only exist in peoples minds. I don't know, but I do know, that the taste of the two is not the same, for whatever reason.

På dansk

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