So on the way back from Italy I stopped for a day in Champagne to meet up with Paul and Bénédicte from Lazenne wine luggage. They’re based up there in a town called Bar-Sur-Aube, so the missus and I got ourselves a Logis room in town and went from there.
I guess a sign of things to come was the first night we got there. After nearly 10 hours in the car I was just about up for opening a bottle and dozing off in the room (I know, I’m a born romantic!). So I went to the hotel bar, but they didn’t offer any champagnes, just a glass of Vin De Table Auxerrois. The quality stamp of Vin De Table is pretty much the lowest level in France, and Auxerrois is usually a blending grape. I can’t remember the last time I did this with a wine, but I genuinely had to send it down the sink!
Ok so no joy in the hotel. Off we went into the town (the biggest in the Côte Des Bar region) to go find a bar or shop or whatever. No joy there either. We ended up having to pop into the only open restaurant and by a bottle from their list. I say “their list”, they only sold one. Hey look, in the grand scheme of life it’s not the worst thing in the world is it? But it did it seem a bit strange!
On the day we had there Paul and Bénédicte took us to two incredible producers and we ate some great food too. I’ll talk about them the next couple of days, but the point being is that the produce is there. The food and the drink that has the tourist money flying into other areas in Champagne are here too! Ok it’s slightly separate geographically to the tourist hubs of Epernay and Reims, but the opportunity to regenerate this area and link up the rest of the local economy is so blatant it’s plain frustrating.
Paul and Bénédicte are more frustrated than most, but have the drive and the locality to do something about it. Impressive pair these two, looking forward to seeing what they come up with!