On this trip, you will experience the unique wine regions of Champagne and Chablis in France, picturesque country landscapes and charming cities, and you will get to enjoy the world-famous elegant bubbly drink and heavenly delicious French food. On the way, we will stay in both the historic city of Reims and the charming small town of Chablis. In the surroundings of Reims, there are stunning limestone cliffs, where kilometers of caves for storing champagne have been built. In Chablis, you will get to know the fine Chardonnay white wines, experience culinary taste experiences and get to know the town’s country market.
Champagne’s success story began in the 17th century, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pérignon started preparing the famous festive drink in the monastery of the idyllic village of Hautvillers. Dom Perignon also invented the so-called cuvée principle, which means mixing wines from different estates together to achieve a better end result. The success of champagne at that time was not a given, because previously the bubbles in the drink were a scourge that you wanted to get rid of.
Today, most of the wineries in the Champagne region belong to small farmers. Large export companies own only ten percent of the nurseries in the area. In the past, smallholders often sold their grapes to larger wineries, but today more and more sell their wine directly themselves.
Champagne rose to world fame thanks to the popularity of the French court. The status of bubbly as an elegant luxury delicacy is also partly thanks to the court, which led an abundant life.
The special nature of champagne is related to three important factors, i.e. soil, climate and grape varieties. In terms of the quality of champagne, the preparation of the blend, or cuvée, is very important. Three grapes are usually used to make champagne, light Chardonnay and dark Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In the Champagne region, the soil is very calcareous, which means it binds moisture well and releases it to the vines in dry times. About 200 kilometers of tunnels have been dug underground for champagne maturation, as well as large storage vaults.
The Chablis wine region is located in central France in Bourgogne, in the Serein river valley. Although the area is far from the coast, it was the sea floor a couple of hundred million years ago. Fossilized sea creatures and oyster shells can still be found in the mineral-rich soil. The Chardonnay vines of Chablis absorb this unique minerality of the soil. Although wines have been made in the region since Roman times, the four-step Chablis quality classification was only created in the 1930s.
Chardonnay is a very adaptable grape variety; it is easy to cultivate in almost any climate and temperature and can be used to make a wide variety of wines.
Not many people know that Chablis is also made from the Chardonnay grape, which is the only variety grown in the Chablis wine region in Burgundy, France. Chablis is one of the most original Chardonnay wines in the world, where the coolness of the growing area brings out acidity and freshness from the grape. For this reason, Chablis is a very different wine than, for example, the fruity Chardonnays produced in the warmer regions of Australia and California.
In fact, Chablis is close in style to the noble champagne of wines, in the production of which the Chardonnay grape is also mostly used. The limestone soil of the Champagne region is very similar to that of Chablis, which is located just over 100 kilometers south of Champagne, but the growing climate is slightly cooler in Champagne.