And then there’s champagne again… part two

Champagne Ayala is a sub-brand of Bollinger

The second day we went to the champagne-house Ayala in Aÿ. This house is bought in 2005 by the family of Bollinger. What makes this house so special is that it has a female cellar-master. In the champagne-area there are only three of them. Isn’t that a great injustice?
The house was founded in 1860 by Emond de Ayala. The name of the founder has nothing to do with the name of the village. His younger brother established himself in London where he soon mingled with the English aristocracy. In England he introduced the champagnes of Ayala.
Edmond de Ayala was a very good business-man. Because he knew there would be trouble ahead, he insured the whole company. And he was wise to do so. The whole building was destroyed by dissatisfied people. The assurance company had to rebuild everything completely. After the restoration of everything the insurance-company went broke.
In the twenties of the last century the house produced about a million bottles a year.
At one point there worked a hundred people at Ayala. Nowadays there are only between 10 and 15 people working. The process of making champagne isn’t entirely in Aÿ. The independent wine-growers which are working for them have to press the grapes themselves. In Ayala there are no presses.
The quality of the champagnes we tasted is also good. But they wouldn’t be my first choice.

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Another house I recommend strongly and that’s not so well known in our country is called Collet.
It’s a cooperative. In fact this company is called ‘Cité du Champagne Collet-Cogevi’. In the huge building there are of course a shop and a tasting area and a very nice small museum. Some of their vineyards are in front of the building.Through huge windows you can see them. If you climb the stairs outside next to the building you can go to visit them. The quality of their products is more than interesting. Like most of the other companies they have a large range.


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