It's Travel Thursday! That's a thing we're doing here now, at least while we still have all these travel photos to share. Today's post recaps our brief stop in the Champagne region of France, which we drove through while traveling from Troyes to Talloires at Lake Annecy.
We missed harvesting season by about two weeks, where the grapes in Champagne are all still picked by hand per the rules set forth by the AOC, but mid-October was a stunning time to drive - or cycle, if you're lucky - through the gently sloping autumnal hills that connect dozens and dozens of wine purveyors in the roughly 360 miles along 5 specifics trails known as the "Champagne Routes." Unfortunately for us, but best for our livers, we had a deadline for our arrival in Talloires, as the bed-and-breakfast we were booked at had a 7 PM cut off for check-in, so we picked a place we could stop for a tour and free tasting based on ease of accessibility from the roads we needed to be on coupled with the stateliness of the manor.
If you find yourself lucky enough to be spending time in Champagne, we recommend taking a little bit of time to chart out a map and call ahead to verify availability - we stopped in unannounced and, although this was advised as fine to do in our Champagne Route guidebook that we picked up at the Troyes tourism office, the tour guides were busy with a private party. Not to be deterred, we we followed the property tour route and took it at our own pace, with all signs in both English and French.
Devaux Manoir has a Champagne cave you can enter and enjoy a view of the Seine right outdoor before realizing there are hundreds of champagne magnums stored about your head.
We did a tasting of three different champagnes once we returned from our walk around the grounds. We compared a 100% pinot noir grape champagne to a more heavily chardonnay grape champagne and preferred the pinot noir so much that we carted a bottle back home with us. We also got to taste a bottle that had been aging for 20 years, and most usefully, received a tip that opening a bottle and letting it decant for a few minutes will tone down the magnitude of the bubbles in case a calmer effervescence is more to your liking, as it is ours.