Reims, Champagne, Pommery: Oakville Sommelier

Reims, France
Reims, Champagne, Pommery: Oakville Sommelier
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About the Author

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides is an accredited Sommelier certified by both the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Passionate about great wine, food, and travel experiences, Cynthia is owner of Niagara Vino providing tutored wine tasting and tour services in the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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A couple of weeks ago I was in Reims, France, known as the coronation city and city of Champagne. I experienced “joyful lightness” at Domaine Pommery, two words Madame Pommery used to describe her Champagne. She really started something with the creation of Pommery Nature 1874, a dry sparkling wine with no added sugar. This was the first brut made in the Champagne wine region, “brut” meaning a dry wine. Prior to this time Champagne had a high-sugar content and was quite sweet.

Several terms used to describe the sweetness of Champagne and sparkling wine, meaning the sugar content, in order from driest to sweetest: brut nature – extra brut – brut – extra dry – sec – demi-sec – doux.

Grand Foudre at Domaine Pommery Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Grand Foudre at Domaine Pommery
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Before walking down the 116 step staircase leading to 18 kilometres of underground cellars which were converted from chalk pits in 1868, you cannot help but notice the Grand Foudre. This large cask was built in 1903 by the famous glassmaker Émile Gallé. It can hold enough wine to fill 100,000 bottles!

 

Domaine Pommery les crayères Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Domaine Pommery les crayères
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Decorated with an Art Nouveau sculpture, there were other sculptures preceding the one on this cask at Domaine Pommery and many more after. In the late 1800s Madame Pommery commissioned 4 bas-reliefs from the sculptor Gustave Navlet, and in the past 10 years exhibitions of various sculptures and modern art have graced the domaine.

Domaine Pommery Champagne Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Domaine Pommery Champagne
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise 1999 Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise 1999
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Back to the wine, I saw an amazing array of bottles in les crayères (underground cellars), among them one dating back to 1874!

After the tour I tasted Champagne from their Seasons Range of which my favourite was Wintertime, a Blanc de Noirs, white wine made from the black grapes Pinot Noir

and Pinot Meunier. I also got to taste the Pommery Brut Royal, Grand Cru, and Cuvée Louise 1999 – all very good.

Speaking of wine, what is happening here in Niagara? Wrapped Up in the Valley begins in November, a great opportunity to visit Twenty Valley wineries sipping VQA wines paired with holiday inspired dishes at 25 participating wineries. The 10th Annual Lamplighter Tour is telling the story of winemaking in Lincoln over the past 100 years with 4 one act plays called: Vices, Vines and Vinifera. Tickets are still available for performances November 21-24.

So there you have it: Reims, Champagne, Pommery

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