Aÿ Champagne Experience: Full Wine Tour Review
If you are traveling to Paris, a visit to France’s Champagne region is a must! Only 45 minutes by train from Paris, you can easily visit on a day trip. Alternatively, spend several days and embrace the beauty and the bubbles of this incredible wine region. There are several Champagne tours to choose from. Let me walk you through why I think Aÿ Champagne Experience offers one of the best experiences.
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Why We Chose Aÿ Champagne Experience
01- HIGHLY RATED
Ratings matter. One of the main reasons we chose Aÿ Champagne Experience for a wine tour is because of their incredible client reviews.
I’ve listed all the big review sites below if you want to check out the testimonials.
Aÿ Champagne Experience Tour Ratings
02- TOUR GUIDE CREDENTIALS
Isabelle, the founder of Aÿ-Champagne Experience, was our guide for a truly exceptional afternoon of Champagne tasting. Isabelle grew up in the town of Aÿ and obtained her Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Wine Certification, so you know you are in expert hands!
03- SMALL & PRIVATE GROUPS
My husband and I have done the big group wine tours in Napa Valley. Been there, done that. Never again.
We love small group tours. It allows you to visit the smaller winemakers and engage in a more intimate, relaxed way.
Isabelle offers both small group and private tours.
Which Champagne Tour Experience to Choose
Aÿ Champagne Experience offers several different half day and full day tour options.
The main difference between the full and half day option is the full day tour includes lunch plus a few more tastings. The full day tour is offered as a private or a small group tour.
We chose the afternoon half day Connoisseurs Experience, which included a visit to two smaller independent Champagne producers. We had a total of 9 wine tastings and 3 local spirits. The half day Connoisseurs Experience is only offered as a private tour in the morning or afternoon.
Our Champagne Tour Itinerary
10:30 AM: LECLERC BRIANT WINE TASTING
Leclerc Briant Champagne Tasting in Epernay
We stayed at the adorable 5-bedroom boutique hotel, Le 25Bis by Leclerc Briant, in Epernay. Leclerc Briant is known for their exceptional Champagne.
The reason we chose the half day afternoon tour with Aÿ Champagne Experience was because we started our day at 10:30 am with a wonderful tour and tasting at Leclerc Briant (which I also highly recommend!).
After our Champagne tasting, we grabbed a quick sandwich and salad at DEJOIE’s Lunch Time. Isabelle picked us up shortly after for our official wine tour in her red electric E-Mehari.
1:30 PM: DRIVE TO THE CHURCH OF DOM Pérignon
Our Champagne tour started with a visit to Saint-Sindulphe Church in the town of Hautvillers.
This church is the burial site of the famous “spiritual father of Champagne,” Dom Pierre Pérignon.
Champagne wine owes its fine reputation to this famous monk’s expert techniques in winemaking. A fitting way to start the tour!
Saint-Sindulphe Church: Dom Pierre Pérignon burial site
2 PM: VINEYARD VISIT OVERLOOKING THE MARNE RIVER
Quick stop to take in the beauty of the vineyards in Champagne, France
We were blessed with gorgeous weather on our wine tour. Isabelle stopped off at a beautiful panoramic viewpoint overlooking the vineyards.
2:20 PM: CHAMPAGNE TASTING #1 AT JOSEPH DESRUETS
Joseph Desruets old wooden oak press
Our first stop was at Champagne Joseph Desruets, which has been around since 1888!
Six family generations have continued their traditional winemaking process. They still press their grapes with the same old wooden oak press! That is a lot of history.
Joseph Desruets Cuvée Coeur de Pinots
We enjoyed a tasting of three Premier Cru Champagnes: Cuvée Soleil de Mai, Cuvée Coeur de Pinots (our favorite), and Cuvée Sybarite.
3:30 PM: TASTING OF 3 CHAMPAGNE SPIRITS
On our way to our second stop, Isabelle introduced us to Ratafia Champenois from Goyard Distillers, known as the “other drink” made in Champagne.
It’s made from the juice of the third or fourth press and then fortified with brandy. It’s typically enjoyed as an apéritif or after-dinner drink. Very fun to try!
We also tried two additional spirits: Marc de Champagne (made from pressing the skin and seeds and then aged in barrels) and Fine de la Marne (aged specifically in barrels along the Marne River).
4 PM: CHAMPAGNE TASTING #2 AT JEAN MILAN
Jean Milan wine storage
Our second Champagne House was Jean Milan.
Five generations of the Milan family have been operating this winery since 1864. The friendly staff walked us through a lovely tasting of six of their Champagnes. One we particularly enjoyed was the Cuvée Symphorine.
Jean Milan Champagne tasting
After our second Champagne tasting, Isabelle drove us back to our hotel around 5 pm. Fantastic tour! Bubbles = happiness.
When I think of France, I think of exceptional wine. We love to do “winecations,” and France was certainly one of our favorites. Make sure you book a Champagne tour, where you can delve into the intricacies of winemaking and savor exquisite wines crafted by boutique producers. I’ll save you the research. Book a tour with Aÿ Champagne Experience, and Isabelle will make sure you have a fantastic experience.
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