1. The sparkling wine we call Champagne may not have been invented here – As a product labelled with Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, or regional distinction, Champagne can only be sold as such when it originates from the Champagne region. However, it has been argued that the sparkling wine for which this area is renowned originally came from the Languedoc, many hundreds of miles to the south
2. There are other excellent wines to be tasted in Champagne – Its sparkling wine may be this area’s main draw, but these succulent grapes also produce some top, non-sparkling alternatives, such as Champagne Edmond Barnaut’s sophisticated vintage red
3. The streets of Reims hide subterranean secrets – As Champagne’s largest and most prosperous city, and home to one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals, it’s no wonder many choose to base themselves in Reims for a Champagne holiday. But do they know what lies beneath their feet? It’s estimated that there are around 120 miles of chalk tunnels below Reims, most of which are used to regulate the temperature at which Champagne is aged.
4. There are many different landscapes in Champagne – While, below the soil, chalk and limestone lend Champagne its characteristic lightness, above the soil the landscape is remarkably varied, creating nuanced flavours between vineyards. Thick forests, rolling hills, sunlit fields and plains, vast lakes, bustling cities, tiny villages – all are here to savour.
5. A love of Champagne helped saved France in World War Two – “Remember!” said Winston Churchill, “It’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” This famous line sums up the other interest Allied leaders had in saving France during the Second World War, an interest which some historians think may have played an important role in Churchill’s intervention against the Germans: preserving the sparkling heritage, and production, of his favourite drink