CIEE Excursion: Visiting Reims, Champagne, France

By: Mona Ghanbarzadeh

Over the weekend CIEE took us to Reims, Champagne. Reims is the City of coronations and champagne. Reims is bordered by vineyards of the Montagne de Reims. Many of the great Champagne Houses are based in Reims. There is a  network of about 120 kilometers of wine cellars beneath the city which we got to visit! We visited Champagne Pommery. We got to go underneath and see the wine cellars. We learned about their champagne, people, the art stored there, and how they take the yeast/sediment out. The place was massive! 

It only took 10 years for them to build (BY HAND!!) which I thought was insane. I just could not imagine creating those tunnels by hand. They were tall, wide, and so long. The image at the top right was art created by hand in 1883 by Navlet showcasing a party in Champagne with Champagne of course. The detail was crazy, again I could not fathom how this was made by hand and it only took one year! There were four of these hand-made sculptures in the cellars all made a year apart from each other. The man who created them lost his eyesight overtime because of how dark it was in the cellars while creating them.    

Now, onto the champagne tasting! The bigger bottle on the left in the image, Champagne Pommery Brut Apanage, was 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 30% Meunier. This one has the potential to be aged longer, the one we drank was 5 years old. “An ideal champagne for a refined aperitif, it will then accompany scallops with cream, grilled white meat or even a mature Comté” (

The smaller bottle on the right, Grand Cru Royal, is 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. “A champagne served advantageously with white meat, such as Bresse chicken with Combava” (