This is the story of two of France’s most beloved wines, and the area that has produced them for hundreds of years...
As with all our ‘Story’ tours, tastings and wine visits are combined with cultural excursions, free time, and explorations into the history of the region. In Champagne, we begin with a walk among the tightly packed rows of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines. What else could give such a feel for the scope and scale of Champagne? Or, indeed, just how deeply this wine’s roots are planted in the gradual slopes and pretty towns of the region?
Our tour is led by Ellen Lewis, who worked at Champagne Taittinger, and has a fantastic knowledge of Champagne and Chablis. Ellen is joined by growers, historians and producers. This constellation of experts add depth and breadth to our story. In Champagne, we enjoy a tasting at Veuve Clicquot, and learn of the role of Champagne in World War Two. Standing in the dusty, bottle-lined chalk cellars we are told how villagers sheltered here while the bombs fell.
From Champagne we travel south to Chablis, the northernmost province of Burgundy. After three days here you’ll go home with the tart, mineral taste of Alain Geoffroy’s wines on your tongue, not to mention the pure white, Renaissance glamour of the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc, and the lapping waters of the river Yonne in your mind’s eye. Travelling by coach, you can bring back up to 36 bottles to make the memories last a little longer! This is a tour for anyone who loves Champagne or Chablis, or anyone simply wanting to get under the surface of this magnificent region.
- Delve into the chalk cellars of Veuve Clicquot, and discover their role as protectors of the locals in the occupation of France in World War II
- Explore the Renaissance glamour of Château d’Ancy-le-Franc, built by the Dukes of Burgundy
- Enjoy a demonstration of sabrage at dinner - a champagne bottle opened by sabre...
- Discover how the Chablis trade is interwoven with the history of Auxerre, a town dating back to the Roman period
We taste a broad spectrum of Champagnes, from the ‘biscuity’ notes of Veuve Clicquot, to the fruit-driven Gourtorbe. In Chablis, we enjoy the full spectrum from village wines to Grand Cru. Chablis has been variously described as sinewy, clean, pure, mineral, and acidic. A wonderful expression of the Chardonnay grape.