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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Insead MBA Integration Weekend - In Champagne!

We recently helped plan the Insead MBA’s Integration weekend tasting with Small Producers in Champagne. What a better way for 12 or so students who had practically just met to get to know each other than over a few glasses of bubbly in a beautiful hilly region in France? We took out two huge vans, had 2 chauffeurs and 2 guides and filled the day with regional food, Chateaus and yummy award winning small producer Champagne tasting!

It was a great trip and the group was very luck to have come to the region at the perfect time! It was the week of the harvest, the special 10 or so days a year when the grapes are picked, loaded into trucks and quickly brought to the pressoir to be ever so gently pressed. We saw the pressoir at work, talked with various small champagne producer owners and drank lots and lots of extra brut, brut, rose an vintage champagnes.

We are looking forward to helping Insead students plan events in the future!

The schedule looked like as follows:

1 Day Trip

9:00                Insead School Pickup in Fontainebleau

11:30               Champagne tasting with 1st Small Producer

                        This producer operates 7 hectares on the left side of the Marne. He owns.
                        Madame Veuve Clicqouts old Chateau/ hunting lodge and produces a nice, fresh
                        and clean Champagne with notes of Green Apple.

13h                  Regional Michelin Star Lunch at La Briqueterie or Brasserie Lunch at
Le Progres in the quant town of Epernay

14h30            Champagne Tasting with 2 Award Winning Small

Led by a brother and sister, this house has 7 hectares and is located on the hills south of Epernay. They produce 40,000 bottles/ year. Their Champagne has won top regional awards and 3 stars in the Guide Hachette de Vin. Champagne is dominated by black grapes (80%). You will taste a fine and persistent bubble and fruits (exotics, kiwi’s, plums accompanied with brioche)

15h45             Champagne Tasting with 3rd Small Producer 

                        This house was founded in 1768 in Pierry a small town near Epernay, and is still
                        family run to this day, passed down from generation to generation. They use a high   
                        percentage of Chardonnay in their Champagne. You will notice grilled flavors  
                       (almonds, hazelnut). These are accompanied by fruity notes (yellow fruit) which 
                        leaves a nice round mouth. This champagne is powerful and balanced.

17h45                 Dropoff at Insead/ End of Tour

The Grapes coming in to be pressed
The trip was the same week as the harvest so students got to see lots of action. Here the press is gently pressing the grapes and the employee is scarping away the sediment/skin which rests

The press

Anne Marie explaining to the group about the triple fermentation process in Champagne

Insead Group Photo

Herve showing the group how the vines are worked in the fields

Tractor transporting the grapes after the manual harvest

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