Champagne Tours In Reims And Epernay
Are you a champagne enthusiast looking for a unique experience? Look no further than Reims and Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region in France. These two cities offer exquisite champagne tours, allowing visitors to
Are you a champagne enthusiast looking for a unique experience? Look no further than Reims and Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region in France. These two cities offer exquisite champagne tours, allowing visitors to learn about the history and production of this beloved sparkling wine.
Champagne has been produced in this region since the 17th century, and today, it is home to some of the most renowned champagne houses in the world. These include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Taittinger, to name a few.
One of the most popular tours is a visit to the 13th-century cellars of the Champagne Taittinger in Reims. Here, visitors can learn about the art of champagne-making and witness the fermentation and bottling processes. Another must-visit is the Veuve Clicquot House in Epernay, which boasts extensive underground caves and a fascinating history.
While these renowned houses offer an unforgettable experience, smaller, family-run champagne houses also provide a unique opportunity to taste exceptional champagnes and learn about the production from the passionate families themselves.
Visitors can also explore the picturesque vineyards of the Champagne region, which were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015. The views are stunning, with rolling hills and quaint villages dotting the landscape.
To truly immerse oneself in the culture of champagne, visitors can attend festivities such as Les Habits de Lumière in Epernay, a sparkling celebration of the holiday season featuring music, lights, and of course, champagne tastings.
According to champagne expert, Tom Stevenson, the region\’s unique combination of climate and soil create a perfect environment for the growth of grapes used in champagne production. \”The soil is chalk-based, and the climate is cool and moderate, which provides a long growing season for the grapes,\” he explains.
The Process of Champagne-Making
Champagne production is a complex and highly-regulated process, ensuring the highest quality and consistency of each bottle. The grapes used in champagne production are typically a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
The grapes are harvested by hand and then pressed to extract the juice. The juice is then fermented in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels before being bottled with a mixture of sugar and yeast to start a second fermentation.
The bottles are then aged for a minimum of 15 months before the yeast is removed through a process called disgorgement. Finally, a mixture of sugar and grape must, known as the dosage, is added to the champagne before it is corked and labeled.
Exploring the Champagne Region
Aside from champagne tastings, Reims and Epernay also offer a variety of historical and cultural attractions. In Reims, visitors can explore the Notre-Dame de Reims, a stunning 13th-century Gothic cathedral. Epernay is home to the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin, which showcases the history of wine-making in the Champagne region.
In the surrounding areas, visitors can also visit the beautiful Château de Pierrefonds and the medieval town of Laon.
Champagne isn\’t just a drink; it can also be used in cooking to enhance flavors and add a touch of elegance. The region is known for its rich culinary offerings, such as foie gras, escargot, and truffles. Several restaurants offer exquisite champagne-infused dishes, such as the famed Château de Sacy.
Champagne and Sustainability
As the demand for champagne grows, sustainability has become a key concern for producers in the region. Many champagne houses have begun implementing eco-friendly practices, such as using solar power and reducing water usage. Additionally, a growing number of producers are turning towards organic and biodynamic practices in grape-growing.
The Champagne region continues to evolve, while maintaining its rich history and traditions. Whether you\’re a champagne enthusiast or simply looking for a unique travel experience, Reims and Epernay offer a host of opportunities to delight the senses and enchant visitors.