I had a fantastic time leading another group of clients on a luxurious champagne tasting trip this past Thanksgiving. We had a great day filled with Champagne tastings at various small producers, a 3 hr Michelin star lunch in the middle of the vineyards, a tasting at a foie gras farm and a nights stay to a 17th century Chateau!
My clients day started at 10h at the train station in Reims where the chauffeur and I met them for the start of our journey. The first stop was Rilly La Montagne and we had a 10:30 appt at a small producers Champagne house which was founded in 1872 with 11 hectares and vineyards filled with 60% Chardonnay, 37% Pinor Noir and 3% Pinot Meunier.
This house is actually unique as they are one of the only in the region to harvest their champagne in oak giving it especially interesting notes. We tasted 3 nice and very different cuvees here and briefly saw the oak that the Champagne was resting in. We were lucky to meet some hilarious Brits just finishing their tasting when my clients arrived and had a great talk with them about a new Chateau to add to my list for my clients. I can't wait to visit and recommend!
After commencing our trip and shocking the body a bit with the first taste of bubbly before 12 we moved on to tasting number 2! This second house was equally as small (10 hectares) with a production of 95,000 bottles making up reserves, millesimes, rose's, blanc de blanc's etc. We sat with the owner in the tasting room and tried the blanc de blanc, brut and millieseme which had won numerous awards in the Hachette de Vins 2010. The clients really enjoyed the fruity notes and delicacy to this producers Champagne and walked away with a few bottles here.
Next it was off through the beautiful town of Mailly where my clients were able to see a birds eye view of the region and have a close up look at a picturesque windmill which was used as an observation post during WWI.
Our drive through Milly was followed by a great little lunch at The Grand Cerf http://www.le-grand-cerf.fr/. A 5 course 1 Michelin star lunch for 33 euro was a great break to the day and the food was impressive to say the least. The main course was accompanied by the most velvety potatoes combined with the most beautifully cooked piece of meat I had ever eaten. We started with an amuse bouche, pumpkin soup with fresh cream and toasted almonds, followed by Souffle de Saint Pierre, sauce homardine, filet mignon de porc with mashed potatoes, sauteed leeks and onions, a selection of cheeses and a dessert of caramelized pineapple, a light and airy coconut square and coconut ice-cream in a homemade cone.
After lunch we drove 20 mins to another beautiful small town called Boursault. We passed through Boursault and ended up at our 3rd producers house in Festigny.
At this house we did a full tour of the cellars, saw their caves and had the entire process explained to my clients and myself and the driver translated everything into english. This house had a 5th generation leading the tour (a 26 year old boy). It was incredible to see how early he had started working with the family and how passionate he was about his work.
The day ended with a quick stop in Trelou at a Foie gras farm with 900 ducks where we sampled a few different types of foie gras before driving the clients back to their 17th century Chateau to stay the night and wake up the next day and visit a few of the large corporate houses on their own!
All in all I think my clients, Olga and David, enjoyed a great day of luxury. A perfect little 45 min side trip from Paris complete with secret small producer Champagne purchases, local foie gras, incredible views of small towns and rolling hills of the region and a nights stay in a beautiful Chateau. I can't wait to plan my next trip for tourist coming to France!
If you're coming to France and interested in a luxurious small producer trip to Champagne email me. SydneyKrueger@gmail.com