There is no other wine like Champagne; it truly is charm, glamour and sophistication in a bottle. Champagne lifts the spirits, lends a celebratory air, and pampers the soul. “Come quickly! I’m tasting stars!”, Dom Pierre Pérignon, the 17th century French Benedictine Monk who was cellar master at the Hautvillers Abbey is said to have exclaimed. Although this quote is steeped in legend, it is quite succinct; champagne does have a magical, ethereal quality and experiencing it in its birthplace is a once in a lifetime vacation experience for wine lovers.
We have designed a fabulous Mercedes chauffeured tour of Champagne for private guests taking in main hubs like Reims and Épernay along with medieval gems like Troyes and indeed Hautvillers, coined the birthplace of Champagne. Visit mythical luxury champagne houses with educational and entertaining explanations of champagne production and classifications, and contrast with intimate visits to charming small growers with convivial tastings.
The name Champagne carries almost mystical properties for wine lovers. Here, the most famous of sparkling wines are made, the essential element of any special occasion. There are a bewildering number of Champagne houses, co-operatives and growers bottling wine under their own labels and a further huge own-label business with wines of immense grandeur and more affordable ones too! In the Champagne region there are some 30,000 plus hectares under vine with many of the 19,000 growers cultivating just a hectare or two. The Kings and Queens of this minefield are the great Champagne houses, who virtually invented the concept of the brand in winemaking.
Reims has a rich historical legacy and modern vibrancy that makes it a fascinating place to visit. This prosperous city has traditionally been a significant crossroads city for north-eastern France and its river port continues to be one of the most important in the country. Full of beautiful wine properties, Reims has an interesting and varied history. The city enjoyed a relatively stable and prosperous time for many years and Reims was riding high on the reputation of Champagne.
Arrive Reims- Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Taittinger
Upon your arrival to Reims train station, head to your first appointment of the day, a wonderful private tour and tasting at the friendly Taittinger estate. On a private tour of their Roman chalk caves and maison, be entertained while learning about the art of champagne making and finish with a tasting of various champagne styles.
Then carry on to the prestigious Veuve Clicquot house. Founded in 1772 by Philipe Clicquot who came from a banking family, he decided to use the family vineyards to create a wine business with big ambitions. You will learn all about the history while touring their chalk cellars and conclude with a pre lunch aperitif of the Grande Dame champagne!
Enjoy a casual a la carte lunch at Brasserie Flo, one of our favorite informal eateries in the region with its high ceilings, Belle Époque paintings, mirrored walls and Moroccan palms.
After lunch, take in a digestive walk around historic Reims including a visit to the outstanding 12th century Gothic Cathedral. Before heading to your hotel this evening, you will tour one last house, the beautiful Pommery property. Their caves are some of the most extensive and fascinating in Champagne to visit and you will enjoy a private tour with a tasting of three styles.
Today we will head towards pretty Maison Gosset, This chic wine house is also the oldest wine producer in Champagne, dating back to 1574, and is located just east of Épernay in Aÿ. Visit their property and taste their best champagnes including the Grande Réserve, their Grand Millésime, Grand Rosé and Grand Blanc de Blancs. Before enjoying lunch in medieval Hautvillers, pop into the super friendly Champagne Tribaut, a.family owned champagne grower who sell grapes on to some of the most famous big houses including Taittinger. Relax over an informal tasting of faves like their Champagne de Rosé Réserve, Cuvée de Réserve and Grande Cuvée Spéciale, accompanied by some homemade snacks while admiring the vineyards and the Montagne de Reims.
After lunch, stretch your legs and enjoy a walk around picturesque Hautvillers. This darling hamlet is set right in the Montagne de Reims nature reserve and you are surrounded by an expanse of vines. The winding, narrow streets are lined with colorful timber façades and beautiful iron shop signs.
Today you switch gears and will be mostly sightseeing and enjoying the countryside and quaint villages, but first, one last wine experience- at the iconic Moet & Chandon house founded in 1743, where you will taste Dom Pérignon. Their wine cellars are some of the longest in Champagne and are one of the most popular on the planet with over 2800 acres of nutrient rich chalk soil vineyards, over half produce grands crus and a quarter premiers crus.
Medieval Troyes is next, just over an hour’s journey through a patchwork of Chardonnay, whose romantic and historic center is actually shaped like a champagne cork! Fairy Tale Troyes has a wonderful heritage of stained glass and you’ll find sublime Gothic churches here, 16th century courtyards, a maze of cobblestone alleyways and a small but important art museum. The town is also known for their andouillette sausages. The afternoon is yours to explore on your own, enjoying the fabulous shops, gardens, and architectural patrimony, Stay in Medieval Troyes.
Enjoy breakfast in a beautiful courtyard Medieval Troyes today, weather permitting, and then at your preferred time departure to your home destination.