Dover UK 2009 BellaOnline Gathering
There were thunderstorms that woke me up, and I woke up early before my 8am alarm went off. Maybe the strangeness of a strange hotel room. So I got about 7 hours of sleep. I was out of the door at 8:30am and ran into Peter and Joan in the hall. The small "cafe room" was fairly empty and we had a small but good buffet out of ham, cheese, cereals, coffee, OJ, croissants and such. I had some ham and cheese and dry cereal (I didn't see where milk was). Soon we were ready to head out.
Wednesday - Mumm and Taittinger
We were going to go to Taittinger first, but somehow the directions we had were wrong. After walking for about a half hour we realized we were far from the actual location of Taittinger, but near Mumm. So we walked the rest of the way to Mumm. Luckily we got there 5 minutes before their next tour began. In the US you just walk into wineries and taste whenever you want. Here you have to go on a specific tour and they only have 3 or 4 a day. At the end of the tour you get to taste some wine. Here I think the tour was 10 euros each and you could choose from 3 levels of tour - which gave you either 1, 2, or 3 tastes at the end. We went with the 2 taste option.
The tour was nice but we all knew how Champagne was made so it was fairly redundant. I did record the entire thing on audio which I'll load later on. We went down into the cellars which were stuffed full with Champagne bottles. This entire region is built on chalk which they carved out into massive tunnels, naturally cold.
They used to use big wood barrels until the 1950s. Then then went to concrete vats with ceramic interiors.
They had a really cool underground wine museum but the wine tour guide kept racing us through it even though I wanted to stay and look at everything. I finally took tons of photos as I walked through quickly and we headed up.
Things got confusing in the tasting room. She expected everyone to know which glasses they should get, but many people didn't remember. So they'd take a glass and she'd take it back and say they weren't allowed to have that one. They really should have color coded the tickets and said "All blue people, come over here and take this wine." Peter, Joan and I had the vintage and non vintage wines which were lovely. The non vintage was lemony and nutty while the vintage was more strawberry.
That done, we trekked back to the main 'restaurant row' boulevard and chose a restaurant. Joan had a quiche, I had a ham and cheese omelet. It was very tasty. We had gassed water with it. Lunch is a 2 hour process here, they take a long time to bring each item, they are slow with the check, they expect you to talk and linger. Finally we headed out to Taittinger.
It was further than we thought, so we got there (after a long 45 minute trek) after the English tour had begun. The French tour was beginning in 5 minutes so we decided to go on that one since we already knew how Champagne was made. The cellars were amazing! This winery was built on top of an ancient monastery and a Roman set of tunnels and they were extremely extensive. You could easily get lost in them. At the end of the tour you got one glass of Champagne each. The tour was 10 euros.
We were very tired now and it was a long hike back to the hotel. Peter stopped at a few wine shops in a fruitless search for a kind of Champagne that apparently nobody stocked. I charged my camera back in the room and took a little nap. Then soon it was 6:30pm and time for dinner.
We headed back to our restaurant row and chose a new restaurant. All of these were outdoor seating along the pedestrian boulevard as people walked by. I had ox carpaccio, which said "boeuf" (beef) in French. What is the difference between an ox and a cow? It was very good. I had a chocolate profiterole for dessert, I'd never had one before. Then Peter and Joan had coffee, and eventually we headed back to the room.
I'm exhausted now, we will be meeting downstairs tomorrow at 8:30am for more wineries!
Wednesday Photos 2
Wednesday Photos 3
Photo Set 4
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Photo Set 7
Photo Set 8
Dover UK / Champagne FR Trip
Lisa's 2009 Travelogues Main Page
Lisa's Travelogues Main Page