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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Harvest Party in Champagne- Le Gallais Fête des Vendanges

Credit: almaphotos.com

It's almost that special time of year in Champagne where the Autumn air becomes heavy with the scent of grapes being gently pressed. It's a special time in be in France-a time when 4th generation champagne families who have been producing elegant bubbly since the 1820's get to work picking the gorgeous Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It's a time full of harvest events and activities celebrating this time of year. Make sure to not miss it! For more info look at the event website here :  http://tastysidetolifetours.com/Tasty_Side_to_Life_Tours/Harvest_Party.html

The past few harvests yielded quality wine, but the tumultuous weather conditions hampered fruit quantity and dampened some celebrations. This year, Mother Nature dealt the Champagne country a fantastic hand, so even with a late harvest there is plenty to celebrate. Shhhh.. don't tell but this just might be the best harvest in the last 17 years similar to the 1996 harvest which was the best in the last 30 years! That is something to celebrate! 

Credit: almaphotos.com

In champagne there aren't many parties to choose from but one that you should definitely mark on your calendar is at the Champagne Le Gallais winery, which is rarely open to the public.  Champagne Le Gallais is hosting a bash not to be missed (in partnership with Tasty Side To Life Tours champagne tasting tours). This will be a grand 'ol feast and requires reservations!  To reserve your seat send an email here or to tastysidetolifetours@gmail.com with your Name, # in party and title it "Fete de la vendange"! Or leave a vm or text @ +33(0) 688151255.
Credit: almaphotos.com

If you've ever romanticized about getting involved in the harvest then the Tasty Side to Life Tours and Le Gallais's party is the place to be. You will get a behind the scenes look at what happens during the harvest, you'll also have the opportunity to get involved, hands on. On Saturday Oct 5th 2013  you'll be able to come to Le Gallais in Boursault, France to pick grapes for 45mins to 1hr, sample pressed grape juice, and understand how champagne is made and even possibly taste it when it is fermenting.  If you can't make this event then you can participate in other activities Oct 2nd-13th 2013.

You'll learn how to read a refractometer and gain a deeper understanding about the importance of the balance between sugar, PH and acid levels in wine grapes. You'll meet the Le Gallais family, sample their various cuvees (Extra Brut, Brut, Rosé) and enjoy a family style lunch on the property surrounded by gorgeous vineyards, a 183o's gorgeous Chateau and an old green house.

We will be roasting a pig and serve it with a nice salad all prepared by the Michelin star chef Michael Nizzero from the regional 1 Michelin star La Briqueterie. A couple glasses of top notch grower Le Gallais champagne will be accompanied by the food and there will be music from a DJ to top it off.

Credit: http://www.dianeabroad.com/

In  2014 watch out for a Spring Blending Session and a Fall Harvest Session where both consumers and professionals will get to experience sparkling wine from an educational point of view (which will require a lot of tasting and hanging around gorgeous champagne villages). Champagne is known for it's history, incredible underground world of caves and world-class quality so it’s a great place to learn and explore!
Harvest Party is Saturday, October 5th| 10h – 14h30 | 150€

Additional events October 2nd-13 if you can't make October 5th. Please email to check availability.

To reserve your seat send an email here or to tastysidetolifetours@gmail.com with your Name, # in party and title it "Fete de la vendange"! Or leave a vm @ +33(0) 688151255.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Countdown to the harvest-Champagne Le Gallais

Champagne Le Gallais has been whispering my name for the past few years. It began sometime in 2010 when I tasted their champagne in a wine fair "Salons des vins des Vignerons Indépendants" in Reims. The owner of the champagne house Herve immediately caught my eye, as did his champagne. 

Credit: almaphotos.com

Herve was timeless- a quirky, gregarious man who was far from the pretentious champagne owner I would have imagined. Herve filled up my flute to the brim with his family's gorgeous bubbly and explained the finesse of the brut I was about to taste. Taste I did and I stored the image of the welcoming owner Herve and the delicious Champagne Le Gallais brut in my memory- tiny bubbles, notes of crisp green apple and a complex long finish. I knew I had to visit the property soon and luckily the village of Boursault, France was only a 1h20 ride from Paris!

Credit: almaphotos.com

On my first visit I was in awe. There’s just something about Champagne Le Gallais. The property has the most amazing feel- softly swaying trees, the sound of the breeze & birds, huge open country land, an ancient 150 yr old wall, vine after vine of beautiful pinot noir and meunier (which make up 90% of his 4 walled hectares) and of course the forever view of a huge 100 bedroom gorgeous ancient "Hunting Lodge" Chateau which was previously part of Madame Clicquots family in the 1830's and is covered in carved stone wild boars, deer and the Greek goddess Diana the Huntress. 

This tiny Champagne house produces not more than 30,000 bottles a year.  Madame Clicquot (of Veuve Clicquot) had built her hunting lodge on the vineyard grounds (calling it a lodge is a bit of an understatement, as it's a gorgeous chateau), which the family is now carefully restoring. What is most amazing is that the vines are hand pruned by just two men, Herver Gallais, and Dominique, his right hand man. 

Champagne le Gallais is a place where you can’t help but lose track of time and delight in the fact that you’ve done so. Then the champagne, oh the champagne. An Extra Brut- crisp and bright with just the right amount of acidity, a Brut with notes of bright green apple, a Rosé aged 7 years with just a touch of caramel and a Millésime 2004 vintage with beautiful notes of aged ripe fruits. This is somewhere not to be missed on a visit to champagne! 

Credit: almaphotos.com

End of September/ early October is the time to pull the trigger and make a visit happen! After the patient wait for the right temperatures and perfect maturity champagne houses have predicted their harvest /vendange for 2013 (around Sept 25th-October 7th 2013). It's an exciting time! Luckily for wine lovers Champagne Le Gallais is inviting you to share in on the job during this special season. 

Champagne Le Gallais is partnering with my tour company-Tasty Side To Life Tours and welcoming everyone to their estate in Boursault sometime the last week of September or early October (estimated harvest party for Oct 6th). Visitors will spend a few hours picking grapes, taste fresh pressed wines, enjoy a meal prepared from a Michelin star chef-huge roasted pig, a nice gourmet salad and a few glasses of Champagne Le Gallais's current release champagnes. 

There is no doubt everything will be delicious. Groups of all ages are welcome. Bring a blanket if you would like to stretch out on the lawn.

For those who love superb wine, gourmet food tastings, and breathtaking views of a 150 year old Chateau, this is a fabulous opportunity to gather with friends old and new to celebrate the harvest in Champagne!

To reserve your seat send an email here with your Name, # in party and title it "Fete de la vendange"! Or leave a vm @ +33(0) 688151255.

150€ per person (grape picking, Michelin star rustic roasted whole pig lunch + champagne). 

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