Travel: Champagne Houses Tour in Reims
Switching gears back to the Summer’s road trip as I just enjoyed a super fab Salon dinner the other night with Jade Dragon’s haute dimsum and fine Cantonese and the opportunity to meet the Salon President Monsieur Dupond himself here in Macau. Trivia, he is also a Tourangeau coming from the same hometown as the husband.
So, the husband organised a surprise trip to Reims and tours of the champagne houses to celebrate our first anniversary at Les Crayères and then our friends Betrand “Elky” and the gorgeous NoJennyNo joined us on our champagne houses tour and a wander around Reims. We spent 5 days here and would definitely return as it felt like there was so much more to see and do.
With so much to drink and see, we did the hard task of narrowing it down to some of our favourites. I am no expert and don’t write about wines or champagne, so don’t have the adjectives or vocabulary to do justice to describing them, so just sharing our itinerary if you plan to make a trip and do the tours, here’s a guide. :)
Some of the best champagne from this tiny parcel (or plot of land). My favourite trivia about this place is that the Japanese is their biggest market and JAL serves Salon in their first class. Salon is the glamourous older sister of Delamotte and are cultivated side by side. Visiting the champagne house and pouring over the history and paraphernalia connected with me on a personal level in small ways – from the beautiful calligraphy painting of Salon to old menus and glorious gala dinners hosted at the Raffles Hotel Singapore.
Salon is 100% chardonnay grapes all harvested from Le Mesnil-sr-Oger vineyards (map above of the region). The latest release on the market is the 2002 which we tried at the champagne house and also drank most recently at the Salon dinner in Macau.
Quite a different and poetic experience – kudos to good marketing and it feels like the raison d’etre runs through the brand. Our guide took us first to the Lutherian church, plain and simple, even the chandeliers were made of wheels converted to hold candles. Then we entered the gorgeous compound of the former monastery complete with a garden maze – for one to get lost and reflect on life. We love Dom Pérignon and looking forward to drink our wedding present a 1990 sometime in the near future.
I don’t get to drink Selosse very often because it’s produced in limited quantities and well, expensive for regular consumption at home. We spent a couple of hours with Monsieur and Madame Selosse as well as her cute pup listening to stories, the whole process of making his wines. He talked alot about kimchi and that process of fermentation and with Selosse it’s a very innovative style of trial and error – clearly a lifelong passion. He also recounts the days when his father was trying to peddle his champagnes at a few euros per bottle at the markets in Paris and nobody wanted to try, much less buy, and here we are today, Jacques Selosse (the brand and father of owner Anselme Selosse) making absolutely amazing delicate and special champagne. They are produced in limited qualities so you might want to consider stocking up your cellar while shopping. Only 55,000 bottles are produced each vintage, and all this dependent on conditions. All his champagnes are aged in oak barrels while most champagne houses use the steel containers. The husband has tried all his champagnes, I’ve tried the Inital, V.O (version originale) and Exquise. There is only one vintage champagne in his production and the rest are non vintage based on a mix of 3 vintages together.
They also have a cute hotel with a couple of rooms and a restaurant we heard amazing things about and will definitely be back to drink and eat!
Also one of my favourite visits, everyone was wonderfully polite and very hospitable. Definitely also the most high tech – the Asians would love this fully immersive experience with the app. We all downloaded the Krug app to our phone and listened to artistes creations to match each bottle we drank, a full sensory experience. (Also really smart way to drive app downloads from a marketing standpoint!)
We were also told 11am is the best time for tasting when your palates open, so breakfast, lunch, dinner with Champagne, volontiers!
Everyone had their own preferences, I’d go with mine which was the Clos du Mesnil, Grand Cuvée and Rosé.
Are you on Instagram? Follow along for real time updates of latest Macau discoveries and other travel adventures.