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Adnams visit to Chablis and Champagne

By Alicja, also posted in News on

To visit a wine region is the most useful and interesting way to truly understand an area, its viticulture and just as importantly, the people who make the wine. To visit and experience all aspects truly helps to add that extra sparkle of passion when we select and sell our wines. It was an early start that Thursday morning, leaving at 5:30am from Suffolk to catch the 9:50am Channel Tunnel shuttle from Folkstone via five stops to collect our gang of enthusiastic (some more so than others at that time of day) colleagues. But we 'put the beats on' and fortunately this year there were no delays as we swept into Folkstone and straight onto Le Shuttle. Then it was out the other end and down to Champagne, with much giggling along the way! The sunny afternoon was spent being tourists in Reims. The cathedral took centre stage and a relaxing afternoon was had. The evening presented us with a delightful meal with Daniel Falala, director of H. Blin Champagne (makers of our own Adnams Champagne, too). The delicious meal involved classic dishes such as steak tartare and delicious bottles of Champagne, of course. The next day we made our way to H. Blin Champagne via a detour for a train ride in the cellars of the Mercier establishment. We were hosted at H. Blin by Ann and Daniel where we took a tour of the winery and press house. There was plenty of questions to ask as harvest was underway and grapes were being weighed and pressed. The pièce de résistance of the day was without a doubt the picnic lunch put on halfway up the vineyards, with spectacular views, wonderful wine, and thrilling company.  We even found some down-time in the sun! After a very pleasant afternoon,  we gave a gift to our host - our wonderful Ghost Ship beer - and made our way to Chablis. That evening we found ourselves in Auxerre (just 16kms down the road from Chablis) for a bite to eat. SAdnams in chablisaturday came and so did a new day of knowledge. We began with a breath of fresh air taken by a walk around the Grand Crus of Chablis, taking in the small area (only 4,500 hectares compared to Champagne’s 32,000) from within. After this, we made our way to meet our next hosts at the Brocard estate. Fond welcomes greeted us with Julien Brocard (son of Jean-Marc, founder). Our time there was spent in the Côte de Léchet premier cru vineyard to help with the harvest and then a tour of the winery. This year’s frost and hail drastically reduced the crop meaning that we managed to only find 100kg of grapes off the vines where normally they’d expect to harvest up to 700kg. Following our informative morning, we enjoyed a relaxed lunch in the estate building followed by a tasting with Sebastian. It was then a quick pop back to the hotel, as it was time to visit Jean-Marc and his lovely wife Claudine in their home, who both made us feel like old friends, before taking a short walk to a restaurant for dinner. At Jean-Marc’s we enjoyed chit chat over some rather exciting old Chablis (the oldest being unlabelled, and a 1962 vintage) and an enjoyable joint of cured ham. I know that for two of our group this was the highlight of the trip as Lee and David’s faces lit up with endearment when a 1987 and 1988 Chablis were brought to the table so they could drink wine made in the same year they were born. Jean-Marc even gave the bottles to take home as a keepsake - the boys were delighted at his generosity. It seemed as if Sunday came too soon, as it was now time to return home, but not until we’d sampled everything at the local market and made a few cheeky purchases in the Brocard shop! You can view pictures taken by Alicja and the Adnams team on Flickr.