Champagne flowed last Sunday in France as UNESCO announced that vineyards in Champagne and the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy were officially recognised as World Heritage sites.
After 8 years of patience (both regions applied for the UNESCO label in 2006), Champagne’s vineyards, cellars and sales house and Burgundy’s unique climate (a specific term used in Burgundy for a wine growing plot) have been rewarded for their culturally significant greatness. But the wait was nothing compared to the decades of human work and effort spent in the land to give birth to the idiosyncratic characteristics of their wines.
Champagne is like no other wine region in France, and everyone who goes there will immediately agree with me. Located in the Northeast of the country, just a few 150km away from the capital of light, Paris. But no industrial infrastructures or skyscrapers here, the endless traffic jams around the Champs Elysees are replaced by 35 000 hectares of vines from which all the life of the region seems to be coming from.
The region’s history goes back to the XVIIth century when the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon transformed still wine (at the time, mainly red wine was produced in the area!) in sparkling and gave birth to what is now the most prestigious method for making sparkling wine: la Methode Traditionnelle (traditional method) involving a second fermentation in the bottle.
More than 5,000 Maisons de Champagne scattered around the delimited region have adopted the Methode Traditionnelle and dedicated their lives to Champagne making. “Where are they?” I hear you say. Everywhere (as far as the vines go). Some of them are internationally renown (Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Laurent Perrier and Moet & Chandon just to name a few) and some have decided to remain in the shadow of fame.
But it’s not because the spotlight is not on them that their production is not worth it! Far from this! Some winemakers are quality- focused and only produce a few bottles of (exquisite) Champagne each year.
What to do?
Discover our Insider’s Tour of Champagne where you will be able to meet outstanding Champagne makers from small (and secret) family owned maisons. They will give you their tips for recognising one Champagne from an other (can you guess the difference between a Blanc de Blanc, a brut and a Millesime?) and will give you expert advice for buying Champagne. Everything you need to know to become a real Champagne insider.
We also offer a Full Day Wine Tour where you’ll follow the steps of Dom Perignon, one of the oldest pioneer of Champagne!
Where to Stay?
1. Stay in a 17th century historic chateau, Chateau D’Etoges in the heart of the region’s countryside. The Chateau offers all the amenities for you to relax and enjoy your stay.
2. If you fancy something more “like-at-home”, the intimate Hotel Les Epicuriens offers two spacious, design and (very) comfortable rooms.
In Burgundy, climats growing vines on the slopes of the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune have been classified as World Heritage sites. And we can easily understand why. On this singular land, historically dedicated to grape growing, humans gave birth to unique wines, loved and envied by everyone.
Vineyards in the Cote de Nuits stretch out on 20 kilometers, predominantly producing red wines. But not just any red, Grand Crus ones. The area’s cool climate, clay and limestone soils and well-drained slopes are ideal conditions for Pinot noir to thrive and produced spectacular red wines. Want to discover more?
What to do?
Treat yourself to this Beaujolais Wine and Cheese Tour where you’ll walk through the breathtaking vineyards of the Cote d’Or and taste some outstanding Burgundy wines!
Where to Stay?
1. The 4 star Chateau de Courban & Spa is a traditional family run hotel lost within the beautiful rolling hills of Burgundy. The perfect place to relax and enjoy a luxurious experience of delightful French food and wine.
2. For a hotel filled with history and tradition, the Hotel Henry II is the one for you. Located right in the center of Beaune, it is only a few meters away from a top winery (and wine tastings !).
OTHER UNESCO ACCLAIMED WINE REGIONS
Champagne and Burgundy have now joined Saint Emilion, the Douro Valley in Portugal, Tokaj in Hungary on UNESCO’s World Heritage site’s list. So, if you want to discover other breathtaking wine regions where grapes are treated like Kings and Queens to produce some of the world’s best wine, discover our selection of wine tours!