The vineyards of the Champagne region start less than 200 kilometres north-east of Paris, which (if you’re in Paris already) makes them a good place to go to for a weekend stay, or even just for the day.
You’ll explore a region full of charm, visit the magnificent cathedral in Reims and meet some of the producers of the world-famous wine that we call champagne…
Champagne is a wine (yes, it is a wine) which is famed throughout the world: with its 34,000 hectares given over to vines the Champagne region produces 10% of all French wines, but provides a quarter of all exports of the precious liquid. Often associated with prestigious marques (such as Veuve Clicquot, Moët et Chandon, Ruinart, Krug, Pommery, Dom Pérignon and a host of others…) it has for many years been an integral part of celebrations, weddings, baptisms and banquets.
The Champagne Wine Trail is not without interest to visitors: on your travels you will discover a happy, fun-loving region (especially in the spring and summer months) in which you can enjoy pleasant days out, visit Reims Cathedral or the old city of Troyes, enjoy a gourmet lunch or dinner in a charming village and of course sample lots of different champagnes! Almost all of the major producers offer informative guided tours of their impressive cellars. And you will also have the pleasure of meeting numerous smaller producers who will offer you a sparkling welcome and whose wines are often very good indeed, and much less expensive than those of the major producers.
A Brief History of Champagne
In which, dear Reader, we tell of the Invention (almost by chance) of a Sparkling Wine, and of the Establishment of some of the great celebrated Champagne Houses.
A Few Great Names in Champagne
Alfred Gratien, Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Charles Heidsieck,De Venoge, Henriot, Gosset, Jacquesson, Ruinart, Salon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot. Krug, Lanson, Laurent-Perrier, Moet et Chadon, Pol Roger, Pommery, and more.
The Characteristics of The Champagne Region
The Champagne region produces mainly three types of wine: champagne, still red wine, and rosé des Riceys. Here we’re more particularly interested in champagne itself.
The vineyards of the Champagne region can be divided into five large areas: the Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley, the Côte des Blancs, the Côte de Sézanne and the Aube vineyards.
To gourmet visitors with limited time at their disposal, we would recommend as a matter of priority the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs districts: it is there that the 17 communes with the appellation grand cru are concentrated.