Champagne is something truly unique in many ways. There’s an aura and mood surrounding this name that is both precise and mysterious at the same time. It’s a mythic and exciting product that reached impressive distinction and status. This prominence has affected the appellation but also brands in a more specific ways. The truth is behind its unique character, the champagne hides a mosaic of micro-terroirs, a vast array of definite styles and overall a multifaceted personality. What is the true differentiation between a bottle and another? What is the authentic spirit and world of each of the prestigious houses?
Probably the most stand-out characteristic of de Venoge is the decanting carafe shaped unique bottle. Although, this particularity has been a considerable quality to bring the Champagne house to fame, it is obviously not limited to a visual aspect. Champagne de Venoge has been driven by a commercial approach for a long time. De Venoge benefited from nobles, aristocrats, “people” and gentlefolks clients around the world and such lovers of the house that they became true worldwide ambassadors for the brand. The house’s founder, Henri-Marc de Venoge left his native Switzerland exactly for a commercial enterprise which brought him to Aÿ in 1825, opening a wine trade counter, still not a proper Champagne house until 1837. Since the very start, champagne de Venoge was innovative. First illustrated label was a Revolution started by De Venoge. Instead of the then handwritten label only stating name and vintage, a very golden and bright red label illustrating bottles and bunches of grapes. An extremely extensive collection of old labels, from the house, others and unsure, mysterious origin is one of the treasures preciously kept in the manor.
The products may be separated in three ranges. The Cordon bleu non-vintage judicious expression of the houses style is a blend of the three varieties with abundance of Pinot noir, thus vinosity and roundness. It was a symbol of nobility at its creation in 1864, referring both to the Venoge river and the Saint-esprit order, famous French knighthood. The Champagne des Princes has the famous looking bottles. Also historic cuvees, it was producted again since 2000. The prestige Cuvée of de venoge, Louis XV, is also in the rounded shape but transparent bottle. It’s a sophisticated delicacy, royal in appearance and taste. Other cuvees includes the vin du paradis, historic, unchanged and exotic driven for dessert Champagne. Also, the “20 ans” aged for 20 years and a coteaux champenois.
Les suites 33 De Venoge
In terms of tourism, Epernay has everything to please. There’s history, there’s magical landscapes, there’s fancy castles and houses. However, to deal with tourism, the choice of hospitality or restaurants is quite limited. So much that most visitors tend to make a day trip from Paris and go back right away. They would probably change their mind if they knew they could stay within the walls of the prestigious Champagne de Venoge house which recently opened guest rooms in the ancient and historic but fully renovated outbuildings and a whole apartment to rent on the second floor of their tasting room.
I had the chance to stay in the apartment which was, I confess, maybe a bit excessive for two people. It’s a great feeling to stay just a foot away from the actual castle, right on the Avenue de champagne, one of the most expensive streets in the world. You can sip a glass of Champagne on the porch of the castle or wander in the lovely yard to find old scribbling from the occupancy of WW2 on the garden walls.
It’s neither a hotel nor a private house. It’s neither a guest house nor an inn. It’s unique and lovely. While all the big houses on the avenue tends to appear very closed up and unwelcoming, De Venoge on the contrary has their gates wide open for public. Beside the rooms, they have the tasting room called the Écurie. It actually was real stables before and the apartment was the hay shed just above. Now it looks nothing like it with a very modern and colourful style. You have the chance to taste the house’s Champagne but also Mister Gilles de la Bassetière, president director general, private collection including majorly old Armagnacs and a big selection of Whiskies. Pair it with the tapas-like plates and bites and your good for an awesome time.