Our Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy wine tour began on the morning of Monday, May 30th. We hopped on the bus in Paris with our group of 20 and were on our way to Champagne. Our first stop was Billecart-Salmon, the king of rose. We toured the estate in the rain and then enjoyed our first champagne tasting accompanied with a delicious lunch of appetizers that would not stop. We had one more tasting that afternoon at Bollinger, the Queen’s and James Bond’s favorite, and were then off to La Briqueterie Relais & Chateaux just outside Epernay, where we would be having a 4-course gourmet dinner and spending the next 2 nights.
Tuesday was a busy day as we had 3 champagne houses to visit. But before that, we made the only official tourist stop of the tour, the Reims Cathedral where most of the Kings of France were crowned. After admiring the beautiful cathedral, we were off to the famous Taittinger for a tour of the historic chalk caves and then a lovely lunch overlooking the vineyards. After a long leisurely lunch, we had a quick tasting at Veuve Clicquot before making our way to Moet & Chandon for our final tasting of champagne and an amazing dinner on the estate grounds.
The next morning we said goodbye to Champagne and drove to Chablis. We stopped at William Fevre and Domain Long-Depaquit before arriving in Beaune, the heart of the Burgundy region. We had a free afternoon so we visited the Hospices de Beaune, a hospital foundation from the middle ages, and then found a spot to have some burgundy snails for dinner.
We were excited to finally be in Burgundy, the land of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We started our wine tasting extravaganza at Louis Jadot, then headed over to Domaine Comte Senard for lunch. I think this was the most amazing lunch we had. A 3 course meal including beef bourguignon and potatoes gratin which were to die for (they wouldn’t give up their family recipe), paired with 6 Grand Cru wines.
That evening we had reservations at the 3 star Michelin restaurant Maison Lameloise. It was Dan’s first Michelin experience and I think we can safely say it met all expectations. The food, the wine and the service were amazing. We made our way back to the hotel bar after dinner with our wine tour friends and ended up drinking some of our wine purchases we had made along the way.
Sadly, Friday was our last day of the tour. We found out that morning that many trains had been cancelled due to strikes, including our train the next morning from Dijon to Paris so our tour guide James, was having to deal with that most of the day, but we didn’t let that impact our tour. Our last tastings included a stop at Butterfield Wines which is run by the passionate Canadian wine maker David Butterfield. Our next stops included Bouchard Pere et Fils and Domaine de l’Arlot before we made the 4 hour bus ride back to Paris. Our flight to Abu Dhabi was the next morning.
We learned so much about these wine regions from our fantastic guide James Lawther, Master of Wine and can recommend Fine Vintage tours if you are interested in visiting some amazing vineyards, meeting some like minded people, tasting a plethora of wines (82 by some accounts), and eating some delicious french cuisine.