Great breakdown of Montmain climats last week from Dylan Hartzoge, Michael Markarian, guildsomm user and Hannah Williams.
This week: Crayères
What are they and who has some of the largest collections? Why are they important?
Crayères are the chalk wine cellars under Champagne, which were originally carved as large quarries in the Early Middle Ages. Ruinart has one of the oldest and largest in Reims. They are cool and dark for storage and maturation of wine. They are also important historically as they were used, for example, as secret hiding places during the Nazi occupation of France.
A lot of them are connected, too, in a catacombs-esque network.
And Pol Roger has a robot trying to find old wine in one that collapsed forever ago: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/pol-roger-champagne-robot-recovery
Sources- anonymous different websites. Information is mostly accurate but correct me if I am wrong.
Ruinart sits at the top of the hill on "Rue des Crayères" and has some of the largest and most impressive crayères in Champagne. Ruinart is also said to be one of the first houses to use these former mines to store champagne. These are "the only ones to be classified a national monument." according to Decanter.
During WWI, part of the cellars were converted to makeshift hospitals and classrooms: