Jiles came to live in Champagne in 1996 after being recruited by Moët & Chandon as Area Manager for Asia. After 8 great years representing Moët and Dom Pérignon in countries from India right across to Tahiti Jiles left to go back to the UK and set up his own company importing lesser-known champagnes. In 2010 he decided that the best way to help the lesser-known champagne makers market themselves was to be based in Champagne so he moved back to Verzy and now works with dozens of smaller champagne makers helping them with marketing and exporting.
People increasingly started asking Jiles to organise private tours so they could discover some of the amazing people and champagnes he had found. These days tours form a significant part of his work and give him and his guests a great deal of pleasure.
INTERVIEW WITH JILES
What are the key highlights of the region?
The people. Once you get to know the champagne makers, they are hospitable and charming and they love to get you to taste their champagne!
When is the best time to visit?
Depends on what you are looking for…April if you are a serious wine lover wanting to taste new champagnes because there are several tasting events in that month. September is great if you want to see the harvest. Any time if you want to visit champagne houses and taste super champagnes
How long should the wine tourist spend in Champagne to get a good taste of the region?
One day is OK, but doesn’t do justice to the region. I’d suggest a minimum of two days and three nights
Do you have a favourite champagne from the region?
Not really. There are too many new ones waiting to be discovered, so I couldn’t possibly decide on just one favourite champagne! Besides different champagnes are suitable for differents moments, with different foods and so on. It’s therefore impossible and perhaps unwise to limit oneself to just one favourite.
Which region would you like to visit next?
Alsace. I think their wines are generally under-rated, but fabulous.