No? Well, you don’t know what you are missing!
Does drinking in a cellar conjure up something dark and dank, not to mention fusty and musty? How wrong can you be? To dispel this myth you really need to attend the fantastic Cave Ouverte event held every other November at Maison Lenique, in Pierry, close to Épernay.
This unique 3D event has been held for many years in the brightly lit fragrant cellars at Maison Lenique and is the most fantastic ‘one stop’ opportunity to not only taste and buy the superb Lenique champagne but it is also an ideal way to take your taste buds around the different regions of France and, for the first time this year, an Italian one. Why you ask? The answer is because this event brings together many of the ever growing family of 3D vignerons who converge on the Lenique cellars to each set up a stall with their wine.
Once inside the cellars you cannot help becoming enticed by all the delicious aromas coming from the local producers who come to share this special day. You will find their stalls groaning with cheese, pâté, saucisson and chocolate, whilst in the background the wonderful local traiteur and his team are busily preparing a warming and tasty lunch to sustain all the Partners during their day of tasting and buying.
As the day begins you set off through the cellars with your free glass in hand, wandering from stall to stall, tasting as you go. Of course there is ample opportunity to buy as well so, what better way to start Christmas shopping than in a cellar!
And that is where we come in. Who are we? And what do we do? We are Philip and Cherry Atlay and we have been 3D Partners for over twenty years. For many years we have helped the 3D team at the Cave Ouverte, by working in the Wine Collection Point. Our day begins long before Partners arrive. And what a day it is. As the vignerons drive up to unload their cases of wine it is all hands on deck. Each case of wine has to be stacked and individually labelled with one half of a counterfoil, the other half is taken by the vigneron. Such a major task involves the entire team but it does ensure, most importantly, that each vigneron does not sell more wine than he has brought.
Then, as the main doors are flung open, the Partners flood in eager to taste and buy. For us, the fun really begins as a procession of vehicles start to arrive at our counter. As the Partners get out of their cars, clutching a handful of those all important counterfoils and hand them over to us we scurry around putting their order together. Over the years of helping to load the cases of precious liquid cargo into car boots, back seats and every other nook and cranny that can be found, it has often been said ‘where on earth are the passengers now going to sit?!’ But, as far as we know, no 3D Partner has ever been forced to walk home!
So do come and see us – we look forward to saying ‘hello’ and handing over all your important purchases. For those Partners who have been before we hope you savour your memories. For those Partners who have never experienced this unique 3D event, we recommend this event. You will not regret it.
Philip & Cherry Atlay