Thursday, August 09, 2018

Champagne Taittinger, Reims

With all this Champagne immersion of late it seemed the right thing to do. Hop on the TGV for a quick 45 minute ride to REIMS, Champers (British for Champagne) country.
Its off season so you don't need an advanced reservation for a visit to the Caves. And there is no better place to be during the heat wave by the way. I thought I'd start off at TAITTINGER thinking I'd make the rounds to 3 other houses. That did not happen. Immersion in one house is perfect for a day trip.  Reims now has terrific small shuttle buses that carry you from the train station to the houses. Plus there is a branch at the station of the tourist office to help you out with maps and reservations etc. Of the many trips I've made to Reims this was one of the best, hot as it was.
The outside may not look impressive but the 13th-century chalk cellars were once the property ofSaint Nicaise abbey.
There were just 6 of us so we got the full historic story of the wines and the house. Taittinger is the 7th largest house in the area producing 6 million bottles per year (Moet is the first). Its also the last of the large family-owned houses. They did sell out at one point and then bought it back. There is a total of 5,000 (!) champagne makers in the area. Its easy to understand why they are so protective of the name 'Champagne'.
We go down another 70 meters where the finest wines are aging. We did take an elevator back up merci deux.
The bottles are still turned by hand to aggitate the sediment in the neck. One person can turn thousands of bottles per day..maybe 70 (!?). During WWI many Remois hid in the caves for months at a time and left carved initials on the walls to prove it.
Upstairs in the tasting room we got to sample glorious wines. The bubbles (bulles) are tiny.
'Nose' the wine and sense the buttery, toasty, briochie and creamy flavors. So delicate and light. I didn't feel the least bit heady or drunk as I usually do with this amount of wine. No wonder Remois tell you they drink Champagne for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If its this refined quality I'm happy to join in. I think I've been painting my bubbles too big and splashy :-()
Taittinger Champagne was the wine sponsor for Les Bleus in Moscow. There must have been massiv celebrating when they won the world cup!
Time to turn in my plastic still life flutes and step up. The elegant ribboned box alone is a treasure.
Lunch was at the wonderfully 30s style CAFE DU PALAIS across from the opera house.
The interior is a mishmash if adulterated artworks and objet trouvé. The cafe is a favorite with the champagne winemakers. Note the old fan behind the statue. No AC here. The food is fine with a 36€ formule you get 3 courses and 2 glasses 🥂 of Champers.
A boater hat is exactly the right attire for Cafe du Palais.
You can not visit Reims without stopping in the cathedral. All the kings of France were coronated here darlings.
Besides its a cool refuge from the blasting heat outside.
Back on the TGV (with AC ) I made color studies from a rose window postcard.
I asked for an empty TAITTINGER Brut reserve bottle for my still lives but they insisted on giving me their top of the line vintage COMTES DE CHAMPAGNE Rosé bottle (around 170€). La creme de la creme..
Lots of Champagne envelope fillers are waiting if you buy a bottle green watercolor dear PBers. What a lovely day trip! I highly recommend REIMS.Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. If you'd like to receive Parisbreakfast letters, maps and Champagne in your mailbox, look in my Etsy shop.
I don't want Summer to end 🥂🍾.


Eugenia P said...

I do love your handsome green bottle. You have good reason to be proud of your fine artwork.

Roseann said...

merci deux = Thank the gods?

Kathleen H said...

BEAUTIFUL ALL - and how fun - sampling the champagne!!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Oui. But it Should be MERCI DIEU ,!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

When you get to taste some of the best, you are ruined for all the lesser bubbles...

Lynn C said...

This is one of the best for the year. Absolutely fabulous. I don’t know if I could go down there as I am claustrophobic..I am sending this to my champagne friends.

Parisbreakfasts said...

I dont like small spaces either Lynn
This was quite the opposite. The ceilings are high !!

Laura said...

What a lovely day of history and the finest of champagnes. Sounds like quality is not only better on the palate, but for the head as well.
Thank you for this informative tour!

Jane G said...

I have been to Cafe du Palais (taken there by people from the Reims Sciences Po) and they made me drink Taittinger. The best! It danced in my mouth.

Cyndy S said...

I’d rather be in Champagne !

Judith said...

Gosh This one really speaks to me!!

Champagne ����❤️

Parisbreakfasts said...

I love the CAFE DU PALAIS!
And I lost most of my pics inside somehow
I HAVE to go back again

Parisbreakfasts said...

Your very welcome Laura
I wanted to share this one.
Anyone can go. Totally affordable and easy to get to.
More fun than Versailles IMHO!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thank you Eugenia
One of my favorite colors..transparent bottle green! Yum

Parisbreakfasts said...

So easy

Kirrabelle said...

Yum! Taittinger Champagne! I’ve had it once, would love a visit like this, even if it’s boilng hot. You’re right, once you’ve had proper champagne it’s hard to compare to others. Thanks for the trip to Reims, on the wish list for visiting!

Jeanie said...

How glorious, Carol! A question -- was this an official tour for you/the artist or do they do these tours regularly and for anyone? This might be a fun time for us during our three days in Paris in October. I love the paintings. They really capture the energy of the liquid and I find that so difficult to do!

Paulita said...

What a fabulous jaunt to Reims. Your paintings really capture the joie de vivre inspired by champagne.

Maria Russell said...

As always, loving your art, Carol. And the narrative too, of course.
Thanks for the tour!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Once inside the caves its cool as ice! Divine relief!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Touring the different Champagne houses is SOP.
Standard operating procedure.
Normally 'in season' you need a reservation ahead of time which the tourist office is happy to make on the spot.
Better yet call a few days directly to the house. No big deal.
Because it was off-season I could just waltz in.
There is a charge 19€ which includes the Champagne tasting fee,
The tours usually take an hour and I think they are hourly...not sure.
Let me know if you have any other questions Jeanie

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thank you Paulita!
Champagne has a way of giving you plenty of joie de vie!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thank you MAry

This is the type of tour I'm happy to do any time.

Jean S said...

What colours are those lovely creamy yellows in your palette Carol? They are ideal for the glasses of Champers! Do you use Windsor Newton Paints?

Parisbreakfasts said...

Its Never just ONE color for painting the Champagne or anything.
Its always a combination of colors...yell ochre, Naples, cad yell, brt Sienna sometimes with an added touch of gold. I'm painting the Champagne pretty much intuitively. I done many in the past but these are the freeiest and most fun yet.

Parisbreakfasts said...

YES I use mainly WINSOR NEWTON. You know what yr getting. Boringly consistent, exactly what you want for watercolors.
There are too many new watercolors flavors produced each year IMHO.
Watercolor is not like ice cream flavors or shoes.
And a palette of 12-16 colors is enough.