Champagne tasting is certainly the favourite activity of all those who visit our beautiful Champagne region in France. We completely understand why, we too, love the little bubbles!
The first idea that comes to mind is, of course, to go for a tasting at one of the grand Champagne houses of the region. There is no shortage of great brands, and it is, of course, an essential visit when touring Champagne, especially to visit and tour the fabulous wine cellars in Epernay!
But there are other possibilities when looking to enjoy an excellent Champagne tasting! In this article, we wanted to tell you about the different experiences you can have tasting wine in the region of Epernay in Champagne, France.
Champagne tasting and tours at an independent winegrower
Tasting champagne at an independent winegrower is, for us, one of the most enjoyable and interesting experiences in this wine region. First of all, it is an opportunity to meet people who are passionate about their work in the vineyards. While in a big Champagne house, you will have to deal with a sommelier, by choosing to do a wine tasting at an independent winemaker’s, you will be in direct contact with those who work the vine and make their wine.
Secondly, tasting at an independent winemaker’s often allows you to discover a wide range of different champagnes. As with red wine, each winemaker creates different cuvées, and it is very interesting to be able to taste the specificities of each Champagne made on the same terroir.
Finally, the independent winemakers offer different types of tours and tastings: you can book a tasting that includes a visit and tour of the vineyard, explanations about the work of the vine, the winemaking process, lunch etc. If you are interested, we recommend Champagne Maurice Choppin.
Other winemakers offer terrace tastings (such as Collard Picard) or indoor tastings (such as Champagne Tribault) with a simple tasting of several different wines, accompanied by explanations about the champagne and the possibility of chatting with the vineyard family and friends. The perfect champagne tasting day!
Tasting Experience in a large Champagne house
As we explained in the introduction, the great Champagne houses are part of the must-see visits of a stay in Champagne. We are talking about world-famous French names, Pommery, Moët & Chandon, etc, for an unforgettable tasting experience.
You will see by looking at their websites that the big Champagne houses offer different types of visits and tours (day, private, group etc.) with tastings. Prices vary depending on the type of tour (historical cellar tour, historical explanations, with food, etc.), the number of glasses of champagne and the range of wines offered.
If you choose the basic tours, which are the cheapest, don’t expect the big game at the wine tasting. You will be asked to taste a standard glass of the brand’s champagne with explanations from the sommelier. To taste different wines, you will often have to choose the most expensive tours.
For example, Moët & Chandon offers 3 prices for visits:
- Rate 1: Visit of the cellars and 1 flute of classic white champagne
- Rate 2: Visit of the cellars and 2 flutes of classic white and rosé champagne
- Rate 3: Visit of the cellars and 2 flutes of “vintage” champagne
Champagne tasting with a tour guide
This is another very nice option to experience a Champagne tasting in a different way. If you want to combine the discovery of the vineyards with wine tasting, then a short visit with a private guide is one of the more interesting tasting experiences.
There are many “oenotours” organised by tourist guides in the wine region. This is an opportunity to be accompanied by a connoisseur of the area, who will tell you about the history of the Champagne region and the great houses, share his anecdotes with you and end the visit with a tasting of Champagne in the middle of the vines at a vineyard.
Depending on the guides and the tour “options” chosen, it is possible to have wines tastings from several houses, with different grape varieties, tastes, degrees of liquor, etc. Make sure you get the correct tour information before choosing your activities and experiences, whether a group or private tour.
Tasting in a Champagne bar
A Champagne bar? Yes, yes! That’s what we call the wine shops here, which specialise in Champagne and offer tastings to visiting customers.
La Champagnothèque in Cramant is one of the most famous Champagne bars in this region of France. Located near Épernay, it is a good address that works in partnership with a good dozen independent winegrowers. Here are the different tastings they offer:
- Tasting “L’Origine. To discover three “monocépages” champagnes and to taste the different typicities of our soil, to understand a little better the champagne and the different regions which it comprises.
- Tasting “Les Chardonnays. This tasting proposes to discover the different types of vinification of Champagne through three different white champagnes: a “vintage” champagne, an extra brut, and a brut.
- Tasting “L’Initiation. This is their most comprehensive tasting offering, which allows you to taste five very different cuvées, often including “vintage”,, white and rosé champagnes.
To accompany all this, it is possible to eat gourmet plates for lunch or dinner (charcuterie, cheese, salmon, foie gras, etc.), and other delicious food.
Our private flats in Epernay
As we explained in our article on where to stay when visiting the Champagne region, Epernay is for us the ideal city to discover this beautiful French region and nearby towns like Reims. It is both a small town where you can do everything on foot and very central to all the major tourist sites of the Champagne region. It is also located not far from key locations like Reims and Paris.
Come visit us and take advantage of our advice on tours and tastings to discover the best of the Champagne region!