We had received an invitation for a private tour and tasting at a medium sized and rather intimate Champagne house. De Venoge is located on Épernay's avenue de Champagne, amidst the other prestigous houses.
Marquis de Venoge, originally from Switzerland was intrigued with the emerging champagne market and moved to the area to found his company in 1837.
In the entrance hall is a marble statue of De Venoge and behind it some vintage advertisement posters.
We met our graceful hostess Emma Dawe-Coz who took us on a private tour of the tank room and down into the cellars far below street level.
The 1.5 km carved chalk cellars make a perfect climate for producing and storing Champagne.
The better bottles are still hand turned and the very old and rare are behind a locked iron gate.
Racks of Louis XV Champagne with it distinctively shaped bottle. On the 25th May 1728 Louis XV of France made viticultural history by issuing a decree allowing only the wines of Champagne to be both shipped and marketed in bottles.
After taking our photos we returned to street level, where the temperature was much warmer and the setting better for some champagne tasting.
We first tasted Cordon Blue Extra Brut, their famous house brand.
This was followed by Blanc de Noirs Brut Marquis, with the image of the Marquis de Venoge sitting at the table. The final wine was the Rosé Brut and also my favourite, with the image of a glamorous Marquise de Venoge sitting at the other side of the table. This rosé Champagne has persistent very fine bubbles and delicate notes of strawberries.
De Venoge produces about 800,000 bottles a year and the three Champagnes we tasted each were priced in France at €35.50
The labeling, packaging and the bottle shapes are exquisite, as they must be with the stiff competion in Champagne.