French Kiss: Popping The Cork On The Champagne Region of France

French Kiss: Popping The Cork On The Champagne Region of France

It was Rob Lowe who first introduced me to champagne, way back in the early 90’s. “Actually all champagne is French; it's named after the region. Otherwise it's sparkling white wine,” he smiled knowingly at me as the character Benjamin Kane in Wayne’s World. This guy clearly knew the good things in life, and the allure and prestige of the exotic French drink stayed with me. Since moving to France in 2011, I have certainly quaffed large quantities of the bubbly stuff, but I’ll admit that my knowledge of it has not vastly increased. I knew that it was an appellation d’origine contrôlée product, which means only sparkling white produced within a very strictly defined area could legally be called “champagne”, and that it was good for spraying on your teammates when you had won a Formula One Grand Prix, but that was about it. So you can understand my excitement when almost 20 years after my Wayne’s World initiation, I found myself whizzing on a high speed train towards Rheims, the capital of the Champagne-Ardenne region.

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