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Reserving visits to the champagne caves

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Paris, France
posts: 2
Reserving visits to the champagne caves

Hi all -

I'm putting together a day trip to Reims in November. I had wanted to reserve at Ruinart, but it's all filled up already (we'll be there around armistice day, so I assume it's because of the holiday). I called Taittinger, who told us they don't take reservations for small groups. Martel's website implies the same. Am I tempting fate by not booking somewhere in advance? Any suggestions? Do you think it might be possible to get onto a tour at Ruinart if we just show up (my friends did that at Veuve once)?

Thanks for your help!

Reading, United...
posts: 560
reviews: 64
1. Re: Reserving visits to the champagne caves

The simple answer is no, you are unlikely to get into the grounds as they are controlled by security. Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin is a more commercial enterprise and have a good number of staff on hand to deal with tours. They also have a large boutique that is open to the public and you do not need to be booked on a tour to visit it. Ruinart tend to deal with your tour privately. VCP is still a good tour and at that end of town. Pommery is also close-by and although I don't rate many of their cuvees, the tour is quite interesting as they often have large pieces of art in the cellars. Across the river is Lanson who also do a pretty good tour. You also have Mumm at the top end of the town, Charles de Cazanove near the station and of course Krug.

Other than Krug, Ruinart is the best of the houses open to the public so this is a shame for you.

Paris, France
posts: 2
2. Re: Reserving visits to the champagne caves

Thanks for your response. I'm on the the waiting list at Ruinart, so I'll pray for a miracle. :) I've been to Reims before, so I'm familiar with most of the places (toured the cellars at Veuve, and did tasting at several of the other places). Veuve is closed on Saturdays by the time we go (which is fine, as I'm not a fan of their champagne anyway). We won't have a car, so we were thinking of concentrating efforts in one area, but we'll look into things at the other side of town. I was leaning towards Taittinger, I just wanted to confirm it's not possible to reserve spots ahead with them. We'll keep Pommery in mind as well.

Champagne, France
posts: 291
reviews: 7
3. Re: Reserving visits to the champagne caves

Armistice Day weekend is busy here in Champagne, but you should be OK to just turn up at Taittinger. There's also a wonderful wine festival at the Parc des Expositions in Reims which is well worth visiting. Just 5 euros to get in and over 300 wines to taste!

Have fun :-)

Tampa, Florida
posts: 29,936
reviews: 7
4. Re: Reserving visits to the champagne caves

contact the office of tourism at www.reims-tourisme.com -- the folks there speak English (from good to excellent) and can help you with reservations or directions to houses that offer tours.

Reading, United...
posts: 560
reviews: 64
5. Re: Reserving visits to the champagne caves

I forgot to mention Henriot. They produce some really good cuvees. I'm sure they are open to the public. Based in Rue Coquebert I think. You also have Palmer who are pretty good. Just outside Reims (south/south-east) in Taissy is Thienot who I really like.

Just to the south of Reims (and a short taxi ride) is the village of Rilly-la-Montagne. Here you have Vilmart who are excellent. A little further south is Chigny-les-Roses where the excellent little house of J. Lassalle (can't rate them highly enough) are located. Also in the village are Cattier (very good) and Gardet (more than reasonable).

Good luck, hope you get to do some decent champagne tasting!

Edited: 5:54 am, October 27, 2011
6. Re: Reserving visits to the champagne caves

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