In May, Mariette Abovici from our London on-trade sales team took some lucky clients out to Champagne, to meet all of our growers and taste their glorious wines! She kindly wrote this report for us:
The trip was very educational, for my customers and for myself. We received a very warm welcome from all our growers, we have seen Gratiot-Pillière vineyards and had a food and champagne matching organized at Christelle and Olivier beautiful house with a caterer.
The second day, we went to Epernay in the morning, visited the Avenue de Champagne (most expensive avenue of the world with the billions of bottles in the cellars) which is always impressive, spent the afternoon visiting the cellars and tasting Moncuit champagne with Nicole and Yves. Before driving to Reims, we did a quick stop in Hautvillers, to see the abbaye of Dom Perignon (monk who created the champagne) and the beautiful view on the valley from the picnic area. If you open a bottle of champagne there that’s a bonus!
Just time to check in at the hotel in Reims and we headed to Le Petit Comptoir for having a very nice dinner with Jean-Claude who was a bit sick but still very enthusiastic.
The last morning, we drove to Paillard, visited the cellars, tasted the champagnes and had lunch back in Reims at the Boulingrin. Time to go back to London then! Everybody (except the driver obviously) was sleeping in the car.
The chardonnay vineyards have been touched by the frost (Moncuit and Gratiot Pillière). Not the Pinot Meunier because it was late so not out yet. Paillard has been very lucky.
My impressions: if you want to impress your customers, take them to Paillard (special room to receive and taste, big cellars, long history and tradition showcased). If you want to have a more bespoke experience, go to Gratiot-Pillière, where we have been received at their house and had a special champagne & food dinner with a caterer just for us. If you want a very French authentic experience, go to Moncuit (they do not really speak English) but their champagnes are lovely, low dosage.
We did not visit Joseph Perrier (only champagne house in Châlons-en-Champagne) but we had dinner with Jean-Claude Fourmon, the CEO.
Mariette Abovici, London On-Trade Sales