Saturday, 27 April 2013

Great forest for great Champagne - L'Argonne reborn

The great oak of the Argonne Forest, south east of Chalons-sur-Marne lies on the first real hills down from northerly Epernay, an hour drive's away. Since the time of the Giraud ancestors and Dom Perignon, Argonne has been the cradle in which great Champagne is made and aged . The silex soils of the forest gives to the oak a more delicate and subtle texture than that of the Troncais forest in central France. At the beginning of the 20th century there were as many as 180 coopers in Florent en Argonne. But by 1950 the expansion of Champagne internationally brought a more industrial attitude; steel and stainless steel were preferred and the Champenois forgot their forest for half a century

History often turns full circle and there's now a return to oak use in winemaking.. Claude Giraud, pioneer of reborn Argonne oak in Champagne says, " I want to make a call to growers and to bigger brands to use our great local oak. The Argonne Forest needs us today, as we need it. In partnership with the National Forest Office, we are planting its oak now as a symbol of  our patrimony and its historic excellence."

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