We may be in Italy this weekend, but we’re celebrating French style. It’s Damon’s 50th birthday today – and, frankly, only Pommery will do.
We’re devotees of this brand of champagne. It’s all thanks to a very long day we spent in Reims as guests of the Pommery château.
It was part of a trip organised by the – sadly, now defunct – Sussex Wine Society, run by St Martin Vintners. Our weekend started early with a coach from Brighton to Dover, on which we were served croissants and Bucks Fizz.
Once we had taken the short ferry journey, the coach sped us over to Reims.
After a dash round the historic city, we changed for the evening and headed off to the Pommery château. St Martin distributed Pommery champagne to restaurants throughout Sussex and sold it in its shop, and the château’s representative was keen to impress.
We were taken on a tour of the cellars – the caves – beneath the château and even learned how to sabre a bottle of champagne.
Then came a private dinner in the château. With each course, we were served a different champagne.
As well as its standard brut label, Pommery produces seasonal variations with varying proportions of the three wines used to make champagne: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Its Wintertime brand, for example, is a blanc de noirs, so it uses just the two red grapes.
At the end of dinner, port from Pommery’s sister label, Rozès, was served.
It was a night of nights.
Our evening here in Rome promises to be special too. We’re booked into a rather beautiful rooftop restaurant that one of Damon’s colleagues recommended. We have gorged on Italian food all week, but we can probably squeeze a little more in.