I had a great time a few weeks ago planning a trip for one of my blog followers to the Champagne region of France. I have people ask me all the time how oh how can they make a "Napa-esk" type of trip out to the Champagne region. You know, the kind of trip where you can mosey on down into five or six little producers, look at their grounds, maybe even play with their dog and most importantly drink some tasty local vino and chat about life for about $5 or $6 Us dollars at each spot.
Making this "white picket fence" California dream come true in France is a bit of hairy situation. BUT....it is possible if you have some inside info :)
Most houses Krug http://www.krug.com/, Moet and Chandon http://www.moet.com/, Veuve Clicquot http://www.veuve-clicquot.com/all require you to do an hour tour of their caves which is then followed by one measly glass of Champagne. This all comes with a price tag of about 15 to 20 euro. Sounds like its overpriced and lacking on the alcohol, right? Actually, the tour isn't bad and you learn a heap of info about the Champagne process but let me tell you, after 1 of these little tours you are done and done and ready to JUST DO SOME TASTING!!!!! (the 1 glass at the end of each of these tours just doesn't do it and find yourself staring at way too much mold laying on the top of very old bottles, freezing from being under ground for so long and barely with a buzz).
After living in the Champagne region for a year I know how to turn the "Napa-esk" dream into a reality. I've been many a time to the small, intimate and beautiful towns in the region and for people coming into town I can easily take the stress out of the process for you by setting up appts with the owners, planning your day, having you stop at an amazing gastronomic lunch, stay the night at a Champagne producers house in the village and even arrange a driver so you can really appreciate the bubbly without worrying about driving home on the wrong side on the tiny village road and running into a 1000 year old maison.
By focusing on the small towns and secret houses you can sit, talk and enjoy glass after glass of bubbly on your own time. From the brut to the blanc de blanc to the prestige you can try it all. Most likely at most of these places you're going to love the Champagne (especially at 13 euro a bottle) and probably be begging for a case to ship home with you!
I usually have pre-set trip prices for groups ranging from 1-6 people. I have different trips you can chose from with flexibility among drivers, michelin lunch or typical brasserie if you prefer, farms, morning markets or Christmas markets if it's the season, etc. You will have a chauffeur and if I can, I will be your personal guide. Let me know if you're coming to the area and interested!!