I did not realise until this year when I went to the region for the first time that there are literally dozens of champagne producers in the champagne region of N E France and that it is such a big area .I thought of it as being a few prestigous vineyards crammed together but it is anything but although they certainly pack the vines in.Travelling down from Reims on our way to Le Mans this year Patrick and I came across a very small producer ,Dominique Boulard ,in the tiny village of La Neuville aux Larris, south of Reims. We wanted to buy some champagne as a gift for our Le Mans host family and the proprietor and his son in law were insistent that we sampled some before buying although it was only 9.30 in the morning.How could we say "no' - such a pity that we had a long drive ahead of us so we could not do an "in depth" tasting.
The Boulard family have been producing champagne since 1792.They are a very small producer -- about 40000 bottles pa. As well as doing some sampling I went down into their cave -- a small cellar carved out of the chalk below the building-- where the bottles are aged.
Back when the French Grand Prix was held at the fantastic Reims circuit- see Reims-Gueux and photo below -the driver who set the fastest lap in practice( now called qualifying) won 100 bottles of champagne as did the winner of the race.Take the fastest lap in practice and win the race and the team could have a fantastic party.
It could not be a bigger contrast between Monsieur Boulard's tiny operation and Epernay to the south where we saw the other end of the scale- the grand and very wealthy champagne houses.La Belle France.
Cheers .Leica X1 photos.
Leica X1 photos July 2012.