Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Lara at Oriel

Going to Champagne-- all tips welcome!

Posted by Lara at Oriel, Aug 31, 2009.

I am headed to Champagne, France next week to do some tasting and touring. Has anyone been? Or any tips on which Chateaux have the best caves and tours?

Replies

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Reply by po54, Aug 31, 2009.

Some nice Champagnes I can recommend you :
- DRAPPIER (since 1808 !) (Rue des Vignes 10200 Urville) Brut Carte d'or (De Gaulle was a great consumer of this champagne)
- DELAMOTTE (51190 Le Mesnil sur Oger) Blanc de blancs brut
- Gimonnet et Fils (51530 Cuis) Blanc de blancs brut 1er cru
- Veuve Devaux (10110 Bar sur Seine) Cuvée Ultra D
To eat, go to Epernay at La Grillade Gourmande (tel. : 03 26 55 44 22), top menu from Champagne terroir at 55 €. (ah, the creefish au champagne !!!!)
Buy the Guide Michelin (to eat) and the Hachette for the wine.
Bon voyage ! :-))

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Reply by John Andrews, Sep 1, 2009.

@Lara ... the best thing I can recommend is call / make appointments as far as possible ahead. With exception of the big players, you can't just walk in. Almost everyone will charge for the tour and tasting.

My favourite was Ruinart as they had some of the oldest caves around. Moet & Chandon was interesting just because of the sheer size.

You can find more about my visit here:
http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/eu...
and here:
http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/sn...

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Reply by Quentin4, Sep 3, 2009.

Hi Lara,
On my last trip to Champagne, I went to see one of my all time favorite House, Billecart-Salmon. It is located in the small village of Mareuil sur Ay, close to Epernay and is definitely a great place to see! They have a wonderful old house (renovated) surrounded by a fantastic garden. It is better if you call them ( +33 (0)3 26 52 60 22 ) and arrange for a visit.
This House is of small size, they only produce 2 million bottles a year, compare to Moet with 50 millions!

Enjoy your trip!
Cheers
Quentin

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Reply by Greg Roberts, Sep 4, 2009.

It would just take part of a day to visit some of the bigger houses on the ave de Champagne in Epernay. However, most offer tasting but not visits to the caves. Moet is an exception.

I would recommend making appointments at some of the smaller houses that po54 mentioned above to see how some of the RM or growers champagnes are made.

I've had some great meals at le caveau restaurant in Cumiers outside of Epernay.
http://www.lecaveau-cumieres.com/

The cellars at Veuve Clicquot in Reims are impressive . They were used as a hospital in WWI. The tour finishes in the gift shop where you can appreciate the marketing muscle that's behind the big brands. Call in advance for an appointment.

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Reply by Lara at Oriel, Sep 16, 2009.

So I ended up taking a tour at Ruinart in Reims. 26E/pp reservations in advance. The property, caves and the tour were all incredible. We did a tasting of the NV Blanc de Blancs and Rose, and the Dom Ruinart 1998 Blanc de Blancs and Dom Ruinart 1996 Rose, the latter being my top pick but I maintain it would likely be anyone's top pick. We also saw the properties of Pommery, Veuve Cliquot and Taittinger, which felt much more commercial. Travelers make note-- the last train from Reims to Paris leaves at 8pm! Ill post some images once I upload them!


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