The overnight P&O ferry from Hull docked in Rotterdam just after 7 in the morning and we disembarked thirty minutes later. Formalities were minimal. The Dutch immigration officer smiled, said ‘good morning,’ stamped our passports and said “Bring some champagne.“
The drive to Ludes in Champagne was made long and arduous because I forgot to set the SatNav for toll roads. Filling stations on autoroutes are automated. I was not 100% sure what grade of petrol in France is equivalent to UK’s ‘super unleaded’ but decided to use the premium ‘unleaded 98.’
We arrived at Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart in the Champagne village of Ludes in the mid-afternoon. Ludes is a Premier Cru village in he Montagne de Reims. Old friend Laurence Ployez-Jacquemart met us in front of her Villa on rue Astoin and Lea made coffee. The house is elegant and our comfortable room overlooked the vine-covered hillside. We sat in the garden with Laurence and talked about old times before an informal tasting of some of the best champagnes of the House.
- Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2010: A blend of wines from Premier & Grand Cru vineyards, soft and elegant. (17). (46 Euros a bottle)
- Extra Brut Vintage 2009: A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Rich and powerful. (16.5). (48 euros a bottle)
- Dosage Zero: A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier. Elegant and mineral. The fruit comes from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in Ludes, Mesnil and Vertus. (17). (32 euros a bottle)
- Cuvée Liesse D’Harbonville 2004: 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. ABV 12%. Marked autolysis. (15.5), (104 euros a bottle)
I bought a case each of the first three wines.
DINNER AT RELAIS DE SILLERY
Laurence booked a table for us at Relais de Sillery for dinner that evening. We drove there after the tasting and were warmly received. Foie Gras with grilled duck liver and figs, a dressed salad and Grilled Turbot with aubergines were washed down with Ladoucette Pouilly Fume.
It was a perfect day in Champagne.