Champagne
 
Champagne's good time image and makers' acumen bolster the world's most successful wine region. Confession time - we adore it.  Visiting Champagne will give you a deeper pleasure too. It's  the most complicated wine to make.  Its vineyards often defy the normal criteria of viticulture.  And its quality is guarded by know-how underneath the city of Reims and the town of Epernay, in more than 200 kilometres of dark chalk caverns where hundreds of millions of bottles undergo an alchemy of yeast breakdown only recently being understood. 

Scala's group wine tours to Champagne are our specialism; our guides have deep expertise in the region and its wines.  As a wine school of 15 years standing, we have a close relationship with the producers which we cherish - their exclusive welcome for Scala wine tasting tours and the time they give to explain Champagne makes going there with us quite extraordinary.  We try to put together visits impossible for the normal tourist.  

Champagne's flag-carriers are the big 'houses' like Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.  There are boutique high class producers too, such as Billecart-Salmon, Krug, Ruinart, Pol Roger, Giraud, Salon and Jacquesson.  But the current big story is the rise of the so-called 'small growers', usually family farms with limited land who now make their own champagne where once they sold grapes to the big houses.  Names such as Selosse, Diebolt-Vallois, Peters and Jerome Prevost are now cults to conjure with amongst connoisseurs.  Their fabulous wines make Champagne a more complicated and better place to explore and we can help you get to grips with it.   

So Scala's guided visits to the Champagne region are informative, but fun and food features too.  Expect rewarding wine tastings, lunch or dinner at gorgeous premises and drinks receptions before.  And each visit is exclusive for your group.  At Piper & Charles (P&C) Heidsieck for instance, the stunning new Pavilion des Crayeres (see below) is not open to tourists and open only to receive special visitors by invitation. 

 Step 1:  HOW MANY AND WHEN? - Tell us about your group (corporate or private) and dates.  We will guide and steward any group from two to thirty.  We try to keep single room supplements to a minimum.

Step 2:  SIMPLE TO DE LUXE? - What level of travel, accommodation and food you would like?  Good food and wine, from excellent restaurants to special private dinners, is very much part of a Scala tour. 

Step 3  HOW MAD ABOUT WINE ARE YOU?  Tell us what level of wine input, guiding and visits you would like, from beginner to connoisseur, including the balance of individual 'free' time and visits and wine tastings to producers as a group.   You will decide the wine tour you want.

Our fee structure is simple:  no mark-ups on any services you want, be they flights, hotels, tastings, restaurants or transport.  Our fee for planning and guiding is thus crystal clear.  You will see and agree a detailed costed itinerary before any payment is made.  

 

How to Go

Take the Champagne Train Eurostar to Champagne from London via Paris is now 4 hours.  Your group could meet with our guide in the Champagne Bar, St Pancras Station and travel by private rail coach with a champagne breakfast.  From Paris, after a quick change, the new TGV service will whisk you into Reims in 45 minutes.  If you are arriving by air, we will meet you with private chauffered minibuses at Paris (CDG) Charles de Gaulle airport and take you swiftly in 75 minutes into Reims.  Reims has its own Betheny airport if you want to charter a plane and fly right in.  It is quite possible now to go from London by Eurostar, check into your hotel, lunch in a Reims restaurant and arrive to be greeted at a Champagne house for a tour by 2pm.

   

Where To Stay

Va Va Room  The Hotel De La Paix, (above) truly central in Reims, is a good 3* option, well-refurbished in the last few years.  There's true swank at the Chateau Les Crayeres for small groups (below).   Out of town, the rooms and food are gorgeous at the 4* Hostellerie La Briqueterie (below) in Vinay.   Chateau d'Etoges to the south of the Cote des Blancs is one of our favourites, especially if you want business meetings on your tour. (below)

Restaurants

Bubbles and Squeak
You will surely squeak with delight to sample Champagne's food.  Illustrated here are dishes from chef magician Didier Elena at the 2* Chateau de Crayeres in Reims.

Your group could equally eat at L'Assiette Champenoise (2*), La Briqueterie (1*) in Vinay, or the simpler chic but relaxed Bistrot 7 in Epernay, for lunch perhaps.

And no one should miss a trip to the art deco classic Brasserie Boulingrin (below) in Reims either, proof that good champagne and robust food are as matched as fine dining.

'We so enjoyed the weekend in Reims.  The organisation was superb and we congratulate you.'   David Lawson

 

'Thank you for all the effort you put into the trip to Champagne...Alex and I had a wonderful time and felt incredibly privileged to visit such magnificent properties, while your insight and commentary helped put it all into context.  The work you put into the organisation showed in the incredibly smooth operation of a fairly packed itinerary for a large party with a highly diverse perception of speed and timeliness.  Well done, and thank you.  Charles & Alex HW

'Many thanks for arranging a most splendid tour of Champagne.  You certainly opened many doors which would otherwise have remained locked to us.'  Christopher Latham

 

 

 

 


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