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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Champagne Wine Route: Tasting at Taittinger vs Pommery in the Champagne region

Rolling hills, art deco architecture, birds chirping, row after row of vines for as long as the eye can see and the echoing familiar sounds of corks popping-THIS is champagne!

Where to taste, eat, what to see/do on a champagne tasting trip is always a tough question! In my book the thing to do is to get lost in the gorgeous champagne countryside tasting with real deal "growers"as opposed to tasting with the names we know and love from home. I know sounds counter intuitive, right?

In champagne there 14,000 champagne growers who supply all the grapes to the large brands or "negotiants" we know and love-ie Veuve Clicquot, Louis Roederer, Krug, Ruinart, Dom Perignon, Pommery, etc. Just 15 minutes outside Reims you are literally surrounded by 19,000 growers and 14,000 of these vigneron independent sell their grapes to the big commercial houses. 5,000 of these small independent wine growers are left for you taste their splendors :) Speaking french is nearly mandatory so if you don't speak it than you better hire Tasty Side To Life Tours.

If you decide to stay in Reims we have some tips for you below!

Private tasting at Veuve Clicquot

If you're American naturally the first large champagne producer which most likely pops to mind is Veuve Clicquot. While Veuve Clicquot is centrally located in Reims and is quite gorgeous please do keep in mind that the French don't heavily drink Veuve as it is mass marketed to the USA. Veuve is great because they do own some of the best "Grand Cru land" ie terrific soil in champagne yet the downside is they can be quite hard to get into as they limit the size of their tastings.

Veuve Clicquot

Tasting of Champagne Veuve Clicquot

Recently this has changed and they offer many more tastings than previously! If you need help getting a reservation please contact us but it you decide to skip Veuve why not taste champagne at two houses which are more regional to France?

Two such fabulous alternative champagne houses which are nearby (5 minutes down the road) are Taittinger and Pommery. I'll give you a quick little pro and con list of both.

Caves of Champagne Taittinger

Pros- Fantastic history. A gorgeous 11th century church Sainte Nicaise was burned to the ground during the French revolution. On top of the barren ground Taittinger was built. Beneath it are caves dug out in the 3rd century by the Romans with engravings from the World wars. 

Champagne- for a large house it has fantastic minerality while giving you a great acidic bright and crisp long finish. Nice!

Details- This tasting and tour is 1 hour and includes 1 glass of Brut. Pricing is 16-22€. English tours are at 10h20, 11h, 11h50,14h20, 15h and last tasting at 16h. Visit is 1hr with tour and tastings. Tastings only not possible. Taittinger- 9 Rue Saint Nicaise, 51100 Reim +33 0326854535

Cons- Commercial Tour. Starts with a video which could put you to sleep ;) Only 1 glass of champagne for the tasting. Aesthetics of outside building- not special. Large tour with 10-30 people.

Reservations: Not necessary

Champagne Taittinger

Champagne Pommery


Pros- Certainly one of the most GORGEOUS champagne houses to visit with ancient caves and a never ending staircase down into the chalk caves. The light is beautiful reflecting off the ancient chalk walls and there is a fabulous history to this house as well.

Widowed Madame Pommery lost her husband and built Pommery to what it is today alone in the 1800's! I love their passion for art and installation artwork. They have one of the largest barrels in the world engraved and previously brought to the World Fair in the 1900's by 24 oxen. The caves here were dug out in the 3rd century by the Romans are gorgeous and engravings inside the caves are unique to the region and fabulous. I also love the installation artwork which varies seasonally from a carousel, a giant paper mache egg, self moving boots, etc.

Champagne- Traditional brut is quite boring and mainstream meant to please the masses. YET their vintage cuvee called "Cuvee Louise" is a tribute to the window Louise and is made from only Grand Cru vineyards in Ay, Avize and Cramant. This cuvee has a richness or rare complexity and aromas of quince and dried acacia with a gorgeous minerality and roundness. I'd compare this cuvee to Dom Perignon. It is certainly worth a visit to taste this cuvee!!

Cons- Boring traditional cuvee. Slight commercial feel. Large 10-30 person tour. The Cons here are overshadowed by the various positives in my book :) I LOVE Pommery and it along with Ruinart and Veuve are my favorite large producer tours!

Reservations: Yes. We (Tasty Side To Life Tours) can help if you contact us

Caves at Champagne Pommery

Pommery Different cuvees or blends of Champagne

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