Conversations over Champagne in Damery

By: Vaniitha Jaiin, On: October 9, 2015

Located approximately 150 kilometres to the east of Paris is Champagne, a region known for endless steep sloping vineyards and the birthplace of its eponymous drink. There are many bubblies in the market but only the ones made in Champagne deserve to bear the title, the rest are just sparkling wines. Such exclusivity, and my love for the spirit was a good enough reason for me to begin my merry excursion in France.


It was sometime in October – just before the onset of winter – my friend and I drove from Paris to Reims, the capital city of Champagne, and stayed over for a night. After a delectable dinner at our hotel we headed to the famous Place Drouet d’Erlon, a long tree-lined avenue filled with boutiques, bars, cafes, cinemas, et al. As we sat at one of the street cafes soaking up the vivacity of the vibrant square, we kick-started our affair with the local favourite, Champagne.

Next morning, post-breakfast we took off to Damery village in the Vallee de la Marne region. The calm and countryside ambiance of Champagne was a far cry from the glitter and glamour of Paris or the Roman remains of Reims. While driving around we traversed undulating lush landscapes blooming with green and yellow vines, and every few kilometres we stopped to capture the picturesque imagery of Champagne in our cameras.



According to local trade association, Champagne has 16,000 wine growers and 320 champagne houses. I had to tour two countries (France and Italy) in a month I could only spare one day for Champagne, which makes my predicament more apparent. In hindsight, though, it was a good decision, as I now have a reason to revisit the breathtakingly beautiful Champagne at leisure, and give it and its namesake elixir the much needed attention.


We made up our mind. It was decided that we’ll visit J. de Telmont, one of the last familial Champagne houses in Damery that was established in 1912. There, we booked ourselves for ‘The Soul of Champagne’ from their Les Atelier Experience that took us through the making and tasting of champagnes from different terroirs. We couldn’t have been luckier, as the owner of the house, who happened to be around, indulged us in a deeper and detailed understanding of this ethereal spirit.





When it comes to wines and Champagnes, the grapes govern the taste and texture of the drink. The primary grapes cultivated in this region are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. It is the region’s peculiar terroir – serpentine hillsides, chalky soil and wet and continental climate – that gives wines of this region a unique feel and flavour. We tasted a wide range Champagnes that the J. de Telmont house had to offer. As it turns out, bubbly doesn’t always have to be raised to an occasion. In fact, much like its non-sparkling counterpart, Champagne can be enjoyed with breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, go ahead and say “Cheers!” with a flute of Champagne’s best!

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Wine & Spirits Specialist. Whisky Enthusiast. Marketing Wizard. Globetrotter. Runner. Passionate. Just a few words that concisely but aptly define me, Vaniitha Jaiin. ..

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