Why should Champagne only be drunk at New Year’s Eve, or at the wedding of a friend, or at a christening that is taking place, or confined to a special occasion? It is a drink that can, and maybe should be drunk all year round.
Champagne and just Champagne has this all year round appeal in my opinion. It is a classy drink that has a certain price point, so if you were to buy your friend a fine Champagne, they would know instantly that you had spent £40 or so on them.
Drinking in Champagne
In order to fully appreciate this expensive sparkling wine that is known all over the world, those who wish to know more about it should go to where it is all made, that being the Champagne region in the north east of France. This place itself is ideal, not just for those who are on a Champagne pilgrimage, but also for those who are interested in European history.
This land after all, not only is famous for making the most famous sparkling wine on earth, but is also one of the bloodiest areas historically – as a great number of wars have been fought on this territory over the centuries.
Start off in Paris
We recommend the start of your Champagne education to begin in Verjus, what you will find is a bar and restaurant that has a fantastic Champagne menu. Here you will find a Champagne choice that will satisfy every palate on the planet, there is genuinely something for everyone in this place, you cannot be disappointed.
They have a Champagne with bubbles so soft that you almost feel like you’re drinking a white wine, not your usual Champagne experience but that is the beauty of it, something new and something different.
The Champagne Region
The next port of call is Reims, and if you are looking for a base to stay then you can’t go wrong with Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. This hotel is located in Champillion, you will notice that this place is almost exactly in between Reims and Épernay – the two major Champagne cities where you will want to do many of your tastings and tours.
The hotel itself is fantastic, so much so you may find it difficult to venture out from the place. On site their is a sommelier than has access to over 200 types of Champagne, or you can just view the rolling Champagne vineyards which are part of the Montagne de Reims from the window of your hotel room.
The Places to Taste
The best thing to do is to sequence your trip in relation to your preferences. What is your favourite Champagne? Does this Champagne house have visits? Most Champagne houses will allow a visitor to book a tour via a phone or through their website and are largely very user friendly.
Champagne House Tours
I would advise doing this in advance, the reason being some Champagne houses will not allow you to do a tour midweek, and many other tours will fill up in advance, so careful planning is key. Wear some good walking shoes, and bring some warm clothing as the caves where they store Champagne will be cool, regardless of the temperature outside, that is why the conditions are so good for storing Champagne.
An important point to note is that although they make the Champagne here, they might not necessarily have a license to sell it at their premises. I would suggest researching the tour carefully and booking a tour that has a tasting session at the end, that way you can be sure to taste the fine Champagne that they have on offer.
Many Champagne houses have a rich and varied history and there is no doubt you will find them fascinating. They will discuss their products and the various other products they have on offer. The following tours are worth considering:
Moët & Chandon
A good place to start is with this very well known Champagne house, the grandfather of all the Champagne houses, Moët & Chandon. It was back in 1743 that this Champagne house was founded, and it has gone on to become one of the largest producers of Champagne in the world. Their visitor centre is at Épernay, and here you will see a statue of Dom Perignon, the monk who is credited with making Champagne the fine Champagne that we are all accustomed to today.
The Dom Perignon brand fall under the Moët & Chandon umbrella of course, you will certainly have a hugely fascinating tour where you will learn a great deal about this great Champagne house. The tours here are well worth considering and pricewise are quite reasonable at around 25 euros.
The Taittinger Champagne house is based in Reims, and during the tour you will be introduced to the house and also the UNESCO heritage cellars that are made out of a chalky quarry which was built around 500AD by the Gallo-Romans. While you walk through the walkways you will see graffiti from centuries ago, and markings which have been carved into the walls from soldiers from various wars. You will also see marks from the tools of the Romans which serves to be a time capsule in many ways.
For those interested in history you will be pleased to find out that the Taittinger building is attached to an abbey from the 13th Century. The tour itself is around 19 euros and represents fantastic value for what you get.
This tour is both upmarket and laid back at the same time, similar in many ways to the Champagne that this fine Champagne house produces. The tour starts off with an introduction in relation to the Mareuil-sur-Aÿ house, the tour then progresses to the vineyards where you will be able to examine the very vines and grapes that make up the Champagne.
From here you will go to the facilities that make the Champagne, and this also includes a visit of the caves which span over 2 miles. The end of the tour finishes with a customary taste of the Champagnes.
G. H. Mumm
With this tour you will experience an easy tour that is far from heavy going, there is a distinct lack of the sort of technical jargon that can confuse, so it is a great place to start if you are looking for an entry level tour for someone looking to feel their way into the Champagne world.
Of course there will be a walk through the caves, there will be information in relation to the making of the Champagne, there is a museum which shows off the evolution of the tools involved in the winemaking process, and of course you get to sample a few bottles at the end in their courtyard. Tours are only 20 euros. And by the way, the name is pronounced Moom, and not Mum.
Champagne house Ruinart is the oldest of all the Champagne houses in the world, and this tour is regarded by many of those in the industry as being one of the best. The house itself dates all the way back to 1729, and there is a 70 euro tour which lasts a full 2 hours and you will go deep underground into the UNESCO chalk quarries where much of their Champagne is stored.
It is also possible to book a dinner in the cellar should you wish to do so and this is highly recommended. There is of course Champagne to drink with this dinner with numerous fantastic courses to go with it.
Out of all the Champagne houses on this list, Nicolas Feuillatte is certainly one of the youngest ones as it was established as recently as 1976. It has quickly grown to the top Champagne brand that sells the most in terms of volume in France. It works in conjunction with approximately 5,000 winegrowers in the region to make the Champagne it produces. The tour lasts about an hour and goes through their entire process from start to finish and is priced around 10 Euros.
Say It With Champers Champagne
For the most part the Champagne houses tend not to make personalised Champagne suitable for a birthday themselves. They will produce a fine Champagne and then another business will take these bottles and modify them into the birthday themed personalised Champagne that you have in mind.
This is precisely what we do at Say It With Champers, of course being based in England we cannot produce real Champagne here. Our family are based in the Champagne region and in a village called Festigny.
They produce the Champagne and we import this and print your bespoke labels to create a personalised Champagne suitable for a birthday. We believe our labels are the best on the market so if you require personalised birthday Champagne then you have come to the right place. We take great pride in our product and offer a full money back guarantee should you not be happy with it.
Don’t hesitate and buy your personalised Champagne suitable for a birthday or any other occasion today.