French Champagne & English Sparkling Wine: A Comparative Visit to France and England
Champagne is synonymous with celebrations: you open a bottle at weddings, birthdays, New Year’s Eve, or anytime you want to add some sparkle to your life with Wine Lovers Tours Champagne Wine Tour to France and England.
Some may think we’re crazy but we thought this was well worth a comparative tour pitting some of the most famous champagnes of France up against the “underdog” sparkling wines of England. Our tour starts in Reims, the heart of the French Champagne region and then we transfer by high-speed train to Kent and Sussex in Southern England.
On our last evening we will have a blind tasting comparing the two wine regions. And when we leave on October 24 to return home from London, you’ll be the judge if Champagne producers need to worry.
The unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region, Reims is home to many of the leading producers of Champagne. Actually the wine region is centered between Reims and the much smaller town of Epernay, home of Dom Perignon, arguably the most famous of all Champagnes.
There are 3 grapes used to make Champagne: the black grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the white grape, Chardonnay. There are no red Champagnes, just rosé and white. The red skins are removed which prevents the wine acquiring any red hues, except for the rosés which are given a little time on the skins. However the red grapes do add fullness and body and texture. And there are some producers who bottle a white grape only Champagne, hence Blanc de Blanc. The Champagne process is also unique: the second fermentation must take place in the bottle and the bottle is riddled before it is opened, topped off and ready for distribution.
Just 90 miles (as the crow flies) from the Champagne region is the wine region of southern England. Sussex and Kent have similar limestone soil and climate change has made the area very suitable for grape production. There are over 500 wineries in Great Britain, with many of them in Sussex and Kent. In fact even some French Champagne companies have purchased vineyards in England because they, as well as many wine critics, believe that English sparkling wine has many of the same attributes as its French cousin. The same 3 grapes are used and when you consider all of the factors: soil, climate, grapes, champagne process, English sparkling wines have a very bright future.
Where we’ll be staying on this wine tour
Wine Tour Highlights:
- 3 nights in Reims
- 3 nights in Sussex
- Airport transfers
- High-speed train transfer to England via the Chunnel
- Our deluxe motor coach
- 12 meals including 6 gourmet lunches or dinners
- VIP winery visits and tastings
- Blind tasting on the final evening comparing the two wine regions