I kind of like the idea of killing two birds with one stone and getting to view incredibly beautiful, breathtaking Chateaus + Small Champagne Producers in the same day, at the same time. Sounds nice, right? We'll I think so...
I started bringing clients the other day with http://www.tastysidetolifetours.com to a great little small producer who I met at a Champagne fair just 20 minutes outside of Epernay close to the Blanc de Blanc terroir.
I love this producer because he has the greatest character and is an absolute joy to speak with. His Champagne is called Le Gallais http://www.champagnelegallais.com and he made my day and my clients were blown away by his humor, warmth and thorough explanation of the champagne making process. It is the time of year when producers are pruning their vines and my clients sincerely appreciated getting a little dirty, walking out into the fields and having the process explained to them.
Champagne vines are by nature creeper types of plants and therefore it is in their nature to spread as farrrr as they can. If they are left to their own little devices they would grow buds at the extremities of its branches thus risking producing a small number of grapes with irregular ripeness! Ie not a good thing! Therefore the vines must be hand pruned to maintain a good balance of ripeness and quality. Pruning begins mid January and ends at the end of March. During these months in the region you can smell and see little fires from cut wood left over from pruning. https://www.champagnegallery.com.au/champagne-science/viticulture/pruning-and-canopy-management/
The Producer: Herve's ancestors purchased this beautiful Chateau in the 1850's from la grand dame who was using it as a summer house. While we were not able to enter inside the Chateau, the outside grounds were absolutely stunning and it is quite well restored and taken care of.
With 3 hectors of land and a small production of 18,000 bottles a year Herve is truly a small producer. Also with a price point of 15-23 euro his Champagne is very much affordable. We tasted the Cuvee de Manor-Brut and an old bottle from 2002 which we picked up while exploring his cave.
The Beautiful tasting room
The Brut had incredible crisp notes of green apple, and tropical fruit and would be a perfect for an aperitif or alongside dessert. The vintage bottle which we were lucky to taste had much more complexity and notes of prunes and red fruit could be noticed. Both were outstanding and nothing like sitting with a producer in his home and telling you "to help yourself" to as many glasses of bubbly as you would like! It was before 11 so we stopped at 4 :)
The Reims Cathedral below
Our Mid day lunch break at http://www.epernay-rest-letheatre.com/Le Theatre Restaurant Eperany just 2 mins from the Gare.
Amuse Bouche shrimp with creme fraiche and tomato and a glorious avocado mousse with sliced prosciutto
Pear crumble with almond whipped cream and Reims rose biscuits
All in all a great day of small producer tasting, chateau viewing at Le Gallais Champagne in Boursault and a gourmet meal. If you are interested in going on a luxury and exclusive small producer Champagne trip on your next trip to France Tasty Side to Life Tours would be happy to help you have an unforgettable experience in the beautiful region!