Grapes at Domaine Leduc-Frouin

ripening grapes in the Loire

ripening grapes in the Loire


Design and hosting by
FrenchDuck Digital

French Duck Digital logo


Frenchduck logo

Tips for visiting Champagne

champagne bottleJon Catt is an Englishman living in the Champagne region who offers guided tours in the region – and he offers some tips to get the best out of your wine tour of the region.

“In the big houses if you take the basic tour you get the basic tasting. It’s what one of my clients described as wedding champagne.

Mercier. Take the train and learn nothing! In Mercier once you’re in the cellars you see nothing. The guide’s commentary is never complete because the train is too fast. The tasting room is an equivalent of an airport lounge and a mortuary.

Castellane. They just want to get you through and out. The tasting is in what looks like a large dance hall. There’s little help with the details of the different champagnes.

Moet et Chandon
– the best big house visit in Epernay. If you take the basic tour the tasting is in an underground room that’s as damp and warm as a changing room after a football match. Pay a bit more and it’s class.

Pommery
. The tour of the former quarries is very impressive. If you take the basic tour you do the tasting in the large impersonal welcome area. I once had champagne there that was like a drink you find after a party.

Ruinart. You have to book but it’s worth it and the champagne is always very good.

Small growers. First get the guides from the different tourist offices. There’s always one in English. They’ll tell you if the owner speaks English. There’s always a family welcome. You’ll often be guided in the tasting by the person who made the champagne. Find one you like and you’ll want to come back. When you visit a small grower you’ll often see English clients who come regularly to fill the boot of their car. Small growers are the proof that the best champagne is not the most expensive.

Try for example Leclerc Briant in Epernay or Roger Brun in Ay.

Don’t forget the Aube (the most southerly Champagne producing see map region – often overlooked). This department has some of the top small grower champagnes”
See more about Jon Catt’s Champagne Tours

Voyages-SNCF UK
By Train TGVTGV from London