MutignyApril 7 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C
We're perched on the end spot at Mutigny's quiet, free aire, overlooking rolling vinyards webbed with a network of pale paths worn into the chalky soil. At 240m, Mutigny is the highest wine village in the champagne region and commands impressive, far reaching views of the surrounding countryside. It only has 200 residents, but it provides a 7 place motorhome park for people like us!
We hadn't planned on visiting, indeed, we didn't know of the existence of this place until we read the placemat advertisement for Le Sentier du Vigneron vineyard tours and tastings, when eating lunch at Le Bistrot in Mareiul-sur-Ay. We'd visited the Lanson and Möet & Chandon champagne houses and really fancied exploring the vinyards themselves and sampling some bubbly produced by the smaller houses. We looked at the options on the webpage and found the start of the trail was just 3.5km away. The discovery of the free aire in the village decided it and we requested a tour via their webpage.
At 2pm we met Emmanuelle at the Marie (Mayor's office) that doubled as a base of operation for the tour company. Apart from the church, it was the only public building in the village, which had no shops. She greeted us nervously (we later found out we were her first booking of the season) and the three of us ambled up towards the vinyard tracks. Emmanuelle focussed the tour round a series of public information boards, explaining and elaborating on the information they imparted. We covered the soil, different grape varieties, grafting, pruning, pests, cultivation and commercial concerns among other topics. Will made the observation that in other wine growing regions, the growers produce their own wine, whereas in champagne there are a myriad of smallscale growers, who sell their grapes to cooperatives and producers. It was good to be out amongst the vines and the hillside was peaceful, save for the squadrons of quads and scramblers that raced past us at points, their engines growling and their wheels kicking up dust!
After a few kilometres it was back to base for tastings! As a treat for Vicky's upcoming birthday we'd indulged and chosen the 'Trilogy' tour, with 3 (very generous) glasses of champagne. Booklets provided us with a handy description of the 20 or so bottles they had in stock and we focussed on exploring the different grape varieties, choosing one made from 100% Pinot Meunier grapes, another from with a high proportion of Pinot Noir (Will's with no added sugar), then Vicky ended with a 100% Chardonay Blanc de Blanc and Will with an Egrot 2009 vintage with 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonay and no added sugar. This ended up being his favourite. We got a bottle of this and a few bottles of the fruity Didier Ducos Absolu Meuneir that Vicky really liked. There wasn't any pressure to buy and at €20 a head we thought the tour and tastings were good value.
We stottered back to the van with wide grins on our faces. It had been really interesting being able to sample the different types side by side and talk with Emmanuelle. It was good to see many of the producers mentioning their move away from weedkillers and pesticides towards mechanical cultivation and confused fertilisation to do the same job.Read more