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Destination Champagne “Three men and a bottle”

James Day of www.gourmet-lifestyle.co.uk

James Day of www.gourmet-lifestyle.co.uk

Shropshire based food and lifestyle specialist James Day of dining club and food website Gourmet-Lifestyle.co.uk has this week ventured to Northern France for a celebration with a difference.

Since he discovered a bottle of vintage champagne, he has been intrigued as to its history. The bottle of Pol Roger Champagne dates back to 1943, and was bottled during World War Two – Friend and colleague BBC Broadcaster and Food and wine writer Philippe Boucheron vowed to help him return it to Reims, the home of Champagne, as part of his 25 year celebration tour of the region he loves so much. Philippe has been a writer for over 40 years, and since he wrote his much acclaimed book ‘Destination Champagne’ about is beloved region and its ‘nectar’ he has vowed to return for one final tour – Philippe who is now in his eighties explained “We think things are tough now – but t he war years were not kind to the champagne producers. There was a tremendous shortage of men and women to harvest the grapes and make the wine due to the war efforts, many fighting, or prisoners, or in the factories making munitions. For champagne all the grapes have to be hand-picked. At the same time the vineyards were badly affected by severe draughts from 1940 to 1944, while in 1943 the vines were badly hit by mildew. All-in-all, not altogether a happy situation.” continuing ” so I thought it time to return and see how the region has changed, though it’s traditions and family growers are a source of continuity, in an ever changing world – and what better time to do it exactly 25 years since I took my first tour out there – taking James, and his Vintage bottle will certainly add to the purpose and interest of our trip. Not that we need an excuse”

James’ tour with Philippe Boucheron and ‘Geoff the Chef’ from Staffordshire’s Corporate Occasions events business will commence on Monday and take in Reims and Eperney, returning with a selection of champagnes for a champagne tasting and talk by James and Philippe to be held at Shrewsbury Coffee house on Bastille Sunday 14th July. For details visit www.gourmet-lifestyle.co.uk

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