Visiting caves of Pommery was like being in a museum in which you can drink champagne, a modern dream for adults.
As we arrived, the gates opened to a huge garden calling us to discover inside, and lead us to the buildings behind, this scenery gave me the sensation of being welcomed and the first view was just impressing. During the tour, we were able to learn more about the architecture of these building. This was actually the vision of Madame Pommery from architecture until the philosophy, to make it a place where people would like to visit. I would say it really serves for this purpose, from the first step until the very last one.
The first thing I have found out before the visit was the art exhibition at Maison Pommery. Every year, a different theme is selected for a representation of a series of art, and placed into different parts of the property, from garden until the chalk caves. By the time we visited this house, the theme was “Gigantesque”. A huge balloon in the shape of tree with giant fruits on it welcomed us, this was the first piece of the exposition. Following, we entered to the hall where we will enter to the caves, there the exposition continued with a huge table with chairs, a huge elephant upside down, and a huge wire cage.
The exposition continued downstairs in the caves. To me, this was an incredible way to blend champagne with art. The visit became more interesting and the art pieces find a place where it can have a precise meaning. For example, there were giant boots in one of the rooms at the caves, representing the vineyard workers.
Apart from that, we were able to see the champagne bottles stacked, aging under these optimal conditions, and side by side with colorful artwork representing the artistic side of champagne making.
Artwork were placed everywhere in the caves and it was just amazing, every passage was leading us to another surprise and to breathtaking scenery.
Just before we climb up the stairs to the entrance hall, we passed from a room where they store their oldest vintages produced. The oldest vintage in the room was 1874. According to our guide, there is no date set for opening that bottle, it will probably never be tasted. There were other very old bottles in this library, one bottle from 1898, others from 1904, 1906 and so on.
When I visited this maison, I understood better how it was important the women touch in shaping the production and image of Champagne. It was thanks to vision of Madame Pommery that these quarries were transformed in cellars in 1868. Again, it was her vision to produce “brut champagne” since she believed that the reason why the champagne were not successful as it could be in English market was the excessive sweetness that it had. Without her vision, passion and bold decisions in champagne, I wonder what style of champagne we would be drinking nowadays.
To finalize the visit, we had a glass of Brut Grand Cru Royal vintage 2006. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the grand cru villages of Cotes des Blanc and Montagne de Reims. Before coming out from the caves we just visited it waited over 60 months on lees. The result is these elegant bubbles with shiny yellow color, aromas of citrus, melon and brioche and a balanced palate with enjoyable freshness and complexity. It made a perfect pairing with the atmosphere in the entrance hall, with all the interesting artwork that we were surrounded.
Champagne photo diary is finished for 2019! It will hopefully continue with new champagne houses soon. Until then, see you in other wine regions.
All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.