Bells toll at the abbey where Dom Perignon is buried in the French region of Champagne. The Benedictine monk is said to have discovered the method for turning wine into champagne here more than 300 years ago. As far as the eye can see, neat rows of vines look as if they're stitched across the rolling hillsides. This time of year, those vines are laden with clumps of dark purple grapes — pinot noir and pinot meunier — as well as light green chardonnay grapes. The three varieties are blended to make champagne. This year, the grapes are plentiful and plump, which is not always the case in France's northernmost wine making region. "Champagne's climate is harsh," says Vincent Chaperon, a cellar master at Dom Perignon Champagne. We have "a lot of frost –...
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