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Introducing Champagne

Champagne arouses the senses: the eyes feast on vines parading up hillsides and vertical processions of tiny, sparkling bubbles; the nose breathes in damp soil and the heavenly bouquet of fermentation; the ears rejoice at the clink of glasses and the barely audible fizz; and the palate tingles with every sip. The imagination and the intellect are engaged as Champagne cellar visits reveal the magical processes – governed by the strictest of rules – that transform the world’s most pampered pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay grapes into this region’s most fabled wines.

Despite the prestige of their vines, the people of Champagne offer a warm, surprisingly easy-going welcome, both in the stylish cities and along the Champagne Routes, which wend their way through villages to family-run cellars and vineyards. All of which will, if France has its way, become a Unesco World Heritage site in 2015. Watch this space.