Our driver Pascal picked us up from Le Foch and off we went to our first ‘Champagnerie’, Champagne Pommery. Pommery is a HUGE name in the champagne world and I was so excited to be visiting it. We approached a large, beautiful gate and I was shocked to find the Champagne house inside of the city and surrounded by other buildings. I had a preconceived vision of the house being in the countryside. Nonetheless, I was blown away by the exterior.
The House of Pommery is more than a Champagne house, it is an extravagant piece of history with many stories to tell. Construction began in 1868 which turned out to be the biggest project of the century in the city of Reims. The estate sits on 50 beautiful hectares (which equals about 123 acres) which is larger than the Louvre, Tuileries and Place de la Concorde put together!
Madame Pommery is more than a legend at Champagne Pommery. The company keeps her ideas and visions alive through various aspects of the business such as innovation and the arts. Madame Pommery took over the business in 1858 after he husband and founder, Alexandre-Louis Pommery passed away. Madame Pommery was determined to carry on the company and swept new national and international markets. She had bold and innovative ideas when it came to marketing/management and was known for breaking the rules when it came to normal ways of business.
Some favorite quotes from Madame Pommery include: “Never imitate anyone, including yourself.”, “You might be passionate, but without perfection and discipline, you cannot attain the ultimate.” and my favorite “God, daily life is so lovely!”
Champagne Pommery looks like a palace out of a fairy tale with lush landscaping, baby blue colored walls, red brick ties and large towers (turrets). The House’s architecture is not something you would normally think of seeing when visiting France. That is because during the time of construction English style and culture had a huge influence on society, including their Elizabethan neo-Gothic architectural style. Construction on Champagne Pommery began in 1869 and the layout consisted of an H-shaped open floor plan to encourage an ‘open to all’ atmosphere and to encourage future expansion.
After a short wait for our tour to begin, we descended 116 steps to the famous Pommery caves. This entrance is the only entrance to the caves.
Throughout our tour of the caves we noticed different alley ways and coves were labeled and named after world cities. Turns out Madame Pommery did this after her champagne was sold in that city!
The caves are huge and seemed endless. Very little light is visible as to help preserve the champagne bottles.
Throughout the tour we learned about the Pommery champagne making process. The caves seemed endless and both eerie and beautiful at the same time. There were champagne bottles of all sizes that were aging in the caves for super long periods of time. We could tell this because of the dust and spider webs that found homes on the top of the bottle stacks!
The original basket pulley systems are still visible in the caves (how workers moved the bottles from area to area) which were really cool to see!
This was my favorite part of the Pommery Tour. Yes, the caves, history and champagne were amazing. But the art! The caves as I mentioned are huge but dark and gloomy. In an effort to keep the vision of Madame Pommery alive, Pommery started art exhibits in the caves. This also helped to boost the morale of the workers who spent many hours of the day in the damp and dark caves. What an awesome idea! The art exhibits are constantly being added and really make the tour of the caves even more interesting!
Here are a few of my favorite of the art exhibits!
After the tour, it was time for a VIP tasting! My Mother and I tried three different champagnes: The Pommery Brut Royal, Pommery Grand Cru and my favorite the Pommery Royal Blue Sky.
Pommery ages the Gran Cry Royal Vintage for 4 years in the chalk area of the caves 3o meters below ground.
The Royal Blue Sky was so crispy, light and refreshing and served with ice! The beautiful sky blue color makes me love it even more.
Pommery has great tips on how to chill and serve your bubbly:
Place bottle in an ice bucket with water and ice for half an hour. Or if you have more time, lay on its side for 4 hours in the lower part of your refrigerator.
The best way to pop the cork: Hold the bottle in one hand and open the wire cage with the other. With the cork gripped firmly in your hand, title the bottle, pointing it away from you, and turn it smoothly and steadily. Ease the cork out gently. Free the cork gently to avoid the ‘pop’ of the cork. Only fill the glasses halfway full to leave room for appreciating the scent of the wine.
We were sad to have our time at House Pommery come to an end, but excited to head into the countryside for our second champagne house tour! Stay tuned to see our next stop!
Looking for more on our trip to France? Check out our hotel here, our tour of the Louvre with Walks of France – here, some Post Cards from Paris- here and the beautiful Cathedral in Reims- here, some fine dining at Le Foch in Reims- here and a Visit to Paris’ Arc de Triomphe- here.