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Convents and Abbey.

The Mountain of Reims (also called the mountainous island) is one of the five areas that composes the Champagne, one of the most famous wine-growing areas of France, famous above all for the production of the homonymous wine, which is exported to all over the world. In the valleys with sunny slopes and dedicated to sheep grazing, clayey and undulating land have housed vineyards since the times of the Romans. In the XII century arose many great abbeys there - including those of St-Basles, Epernay, Hautvillers and Avernay - which planted vineyards in ecclesial properties. The cultivation in the vine had had such a great development that in the IX century a distinction between the wines of the Marne and those of the Montagne de Reims was introduced. In 816 the coronation of Charlemagne’s son, Luigi, contributed to the diffusion of the fame of Champagne wine among the aristocrats in France.

That of Philip VI, in 1328, led the court and the inhabitants of Reims to drink about 300 barrels of wine of the Coteaux Champenois. In the abbey of St-Basles, near Verzy, the Champagne wine was served during the festivities that ended the religious processions of the holidays. San Remigio, Bishop of Reims for 74 years until his death in 530, mentions the local vineyards in his will. Afterwards, the fame of these wines continued to flourish thanks to the commercial exchanges, but only at the end of the XVII century the young Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, appointed cellar master of the abbey of Hautvillers, succeeded in obtaining that natural fermentation during which the liquid foamed maintaining the clarity and, thanks to the “cuvée”, that is the use of grapes of different vines, obtained a rich bouquet.

Solved the problem of containers with strong bottles resistant to wine pressure and to their closure with cork stoppers tied by metal cages (instead of the wooden stopper and the cloth soaked in oil previously used), from the wine cellars of Reims and Épernay more and more bottles began to spread out, and also the Napoleonic campaigns contributed to its diffusion in Europe. The wine cellars, generally dug into clay and very large, can be visited.

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