Home > Food and drink > B&B in the Champagne Valley and a bit about Champagne

B&B in the Champagne Valley and a bit about Champagne

photo-accuel The place we stayed in France last weekend was a nice Bed & Breakfast named Chambres d’Hotes: Sabine et Simon Blin. Simon grows grapes for the Blin winery, which makes good champagne and he volunteers there by giving tours. We followed along as he gave a tour in French to a busload of retirees from Paris. Thankfully we had already had a champagne tour at Veuve Clicquot in English, so we sort of knew what he was talking about. A woman working there occasionally translated for us and chatted to us a bit too, which made it even more interesting. I’m not sure Simon speaks English, but his wife Sabine does speak English and she is the one who runs the B&B. We were the only 3 guests (they can’t handle much more anyway) and we had half of the house to ourselves, including our own front door, dining area, and living room. However, since it was nice out, we preferred their back yard with their two dogs who loved having our attention. If we go back to the area, I’m sure we will try to stay there again. Their info is:

  • Chambres d’Hotes: Sabine et Simon Blin
  • 22, rue de la Tour / 51700 Verneuil / France
  • Tel: 03.26.51.92.29 (click here to figure out how to dial France from your location)
  • Web: http://www.havredupercheron.com/ 
  • E-mail: setsblin@aol.com
  • Description: "This former farm that bred work horses was transformed into a beautiful maison bourgeoisie. In a desirable location in the heart of the village, where a little river runs at the bottom of the garden. Inscribed in history, it was once a ‘Komandantur’ command post during the Second World War and deeply involved in the WW1, shown by the fragments of shells encrusted here and there. Today, enclosed by walls, numerous wild ducks have made it their home. Sabine has put her heart and soul into decorating the house with different techniques and styles. Outside there are plenty of areas for relaxing, by the river, on the bowling pitch or in the former annexes that served as pigeon lofts and stables, now converted into a summer kitchen. Sabine and Simon run a Champagne vineyard, so they are well placed to advise you on their own wines and which caves to visit in the area. They can also arrange for you to try your hand at grape-picking and assist with the vendanges!"

And if you don’t know much about champagne: There are only 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of Champagne vineyards that are entitled to use the "Champagne" name, otherwise it is a sparkling wine. There are only 3 types of grapes used in Champagne:

  1. Pinot Meunier: Black grape with white juice, produced along the Marne valley (not much of this one is used, at least in the ones we tried – maybe 10% at most, if at all)
  2. Pinot Noir: Noir Black grape with white juice, produced on the slopes of Reims (roughly 50% or more of the wine is from this grape)
  3. Chardonnay: Reims Chardonnay White grape with white juice grown on the Cote des Blancs
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