We were a bit slow off the mark and only decided we would go to Reims about a week before we actually went. We really wanted to do a champagne tasting tour and headed to www.tripadvisor.com to see what was available. We were recommended to La Vigne du Roy from the people at Raw who were booked out. Luckily La Vigne du Roy had just had a cancellation and we managed to slot in with no troubles.
Chris arrived at our hotel in his shiny black van at 9.30am for our private tour, and the three of us piled in. Chris runs the tour company with his fiancé and it's pretty personal, making you feel very welcome.
La Vigne du Roy focusses more on the smaller champagne houses, where people put real passion into their product, and we headed off into the surrounding countryside and parked up at the edge of a vineyard to get our first information on grape varieties and the earth they're grown in. Chris is an expert on champagne and has a background in the forces, giving him a passion for military history also. There's was never a lull in conversation!
We visited Nicolas Maillart for our first tasting. Maillart is a small family champagne house, now into it's 9th generation. We toured the whole champagne process and learnt so much, before we headed to the tasting room. Around 8 different champagnes were on offer for tasting and we enjoyed them all! After loading our purchases into the back of the van, we headed off for a glorious lunch at Le Jardin Brasserie - yum!
|Do you know why glasses are "chinked" during a toast? |
Chris did, and now we know too!
Lunch lingered pleasantly on, with more champagne, and it was about 3pm when we eventually ambled back to the van and headed on to Rene Geoffroy for our next tasting. Geoffroy is another family champagne house, and has traditional champagne caves under his current production facility. We toured the five levels of caves and making area before having more tastings (and purchasings!).
Chris decided that instead of visiting another champagne house, we'd do something a bit different, and he managed to totally surprise us as we drove up into the forest, then walked through the trees, along three suspension bridges between the tree-tops, and into the Perching Bar - the world's only tree top champagne bar! It was amazing to be in this gorgeous tree house, sipping a flute of bubbles, looking down over Reims after such a great day.
As we headed back into town around 7.30pm, we were seriously thrilled with our tour. Chris is a passionate guide and a friendly guy. We were given so much information, tips of places to eat, and things to see. He has lots of stories and is in the process of writing a novel, the first part of a historical (with a twist!) trilogy based in and around Reims - we'll be buying it when it's released!
La Vigne du Roy
Phone:- +33(0)6 31 86 59 23