Four months ago, I shared with my readers the first two parts of my VCP Grape picking adventure (Part #1 + Part #2). After a long wait I am now ready to share with you the third and final part of my journey. It may be long overdue, but I believe it is refreshing to let a certain period of time go by so you can re-live the great adventures of the past all over again.
After the tiresome, but joyful grape picking, drinking and eating we woke up the next morning (which was to be our last in the beautiful Reims), ready for exploration. At 7.30 am we were escorted by Kasia Canu to a great journey through the villages and champagne countryside such as Hautvilliers, Mutigny, Mareuilm and Bouzi. We made a short stop at AY were we met Pierre Cheval, the producer of Gatinois champagne, president of "Association des paysages du Champagne" and candidate for UNESCO World heritage. We enjoyed our breakfast glass of champagne and moved on to discover the secrets of the beautiful Gatinois.
Finally, we reached the scene of our yesterdays crime _ Vergy. We were going to visit the grape pressing center to see what it is all about. We realized that great care is taken to keep the grapes whole until pressing: the distance and time between the vine and the grape press are kept to a minimum since there is Veuve Clicquot presses located in each sector. VCP has unique techniques and the know how in order to create excellence. We found out that to limit the distance from vine to the grape press to no more than a few kilometers, Veuve Clicquot's pressing centers are located in the heart of the vineyard itself. The need for long transfers, which could be harmful to the grapes is thereby avoided, Champagne grapes are fragile and Veuve Clicquot uses more than two thirds "black" grapes to make a "white" wine. It is therefore imperative not to let the juices color from unwanted shaking and vibrations to the grapes during transport. Pressing should also be done as soon as possible after harvesting in order to preserve the purity and taste of the grapes. In all of its pressing centers Veuve Clicquot has 11 traditional vertical presses and 18 pneumatic, horizontal presses.
After our knowledgeable course in VCP the making of, followed a glorious lunch at the Manoir de Verzy which was accompanied by Veuves red wine. This was a rare experience as this wine is not distributed anymore.
Finally, just before our return to Paris we visited French restorer Christian Vibert, who performs restorations of private/public collections, churches, museums and historic monuments. In his atelier we had the honor to view the glorious painting restoration of Madame Clicquote’s portrait accompanied by Fabienne Huttaux (VC historian). The artwork is titled "Portrait of Madame with Mademoiselle de Mortemart, the future Duchess of Uzès by Léon Cogniet (1794-1880). This work was commissioned by Madame Clicquot in 1861, when she was 84 years old. Oil on canvas (129.5 cm x 99.3cm), painted between 1851 and 1861 (signed and dated 1861).
With this final private viewing, our trip to Reims reached to an end and we all headed back to Paris with a cultural surprise waiting for us. Mr. Yves Carcelle (CEO and Chairman of Louis Vuitton) invited us to the exhibition space ‘Espace Louis Vuitton’ for the viewing of the current show ‘Confusion of the Senses’. An exhibition that was all about the knowledge of our body and senses in order to understand our inner selves better. The Espace Louis Vuitton explores the theme of travel in its multiple facets offering its visitors the opportunity to discover the diversity of contemporary art from all over the globe.
Accompanied by Juliette de Gonet we experienced the works and the space; by the way I highly recommend the visit, as the exhibitions are always something definitely worth seeing and after all it is situated at 22 Avenue Montaigne at the LOUIS VUITTON main Headquarters which is on of the strongest architectural retail shops. The interior architecture was created by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Jean-Jacques Orya. One of the most exciting parts of this interior is the contemporary art sculptures located in the center of the building and cleverly placed in spaces that look out on Avenue Montaigne and Rue Jean-Goujon.
With this luxurious visit one more journey came to an end, leaving the sweetest taste in our tongues,the unforgettable memories in our minds, the strong feelings in our hearts and of course the heavenly yellow bubbles in our blood!! Once again the hospitality, the warmth, the enthusiasm and the kindness overwhelmed me and this time I'm also feeling wiser due to the VCP secrets which were generously unveiled in front of my eyes. Thank you Madame!, for sharing your wisdom and your hospitality with Yatzer.