Moet & Chandon Champagne Cave Tour, Epernay, France

Avenue de Champagne, Epernay, France

It's New Year's Eve! There are three major things on my mind, and I'm willing to bet a lot of you are thinking about those same things: the year 2013, the New Year to come, and Champagne! 2013 was a great year for us. Among the many wonderful things we did was visit Epernay, France, where we took a tour of the Champagne caves at Moet & Chandon. In Epernay, there is actually a road called Avenue de Champagne, and the road is lined with Champagne houses from Moet & Chandon to Pol Roger to Perriet-Jouet.

Avenue de Champagne, Epernay, France

We scheduled a tour at Moet & Chandon before we even set off on our trip, which started in Paris and ended in Frankfurt. When we left Paris, we took a high-speed train to Reims (home of another famous Champagne: Veuve Clicquot. We tried to schedule a tour there too, but it was closed for renovations during our trip). From Reims we drove to Epernay and found Moet & Chandon on the Avenue de Champagne. (As you can tell, I was very excited.)

Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

Dom Perignon statue outside Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

Once inside, we checked in for our tour and waited in the lobby for it to begin. Our tour guide soon gathered our group and led us to down to the caves, which are underneath the Champagne house. There are actually millions of bottles of Champagne underneath Epernay due to all the Champagne houses. Our tour guide took us through the caves and explained the Champagne making process, in general and specific to Moet & Chandon. We learned a ton on the tour. (I wish I had taken notes!)

Cave tour at  Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

Cave tour at  Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

Cave tour at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France
A gift from Napoleon

Cave tour at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France
Sediment in the bottle

Cave tour at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France
Unlabeled bottles of Dom Perignon

After touring the caves, we gathered in the tasting room. Jeff and I signed up for two different tastings, so we could try four different Champagnes. We had the Imperial, the Rose Imperial, the Grand Vintage 2004, and the Grand Vintage Rose 2004. Vintage Champagnes are made from grapes grown during only one season, so they taste different each year. The Imperial and Rose Imperial use reserve wines and are blended for constancy. All the Champagnes we tasted use different combinations of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.

Champagne tasting at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

Champagne tasting at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, FranceChampagne tasting at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

After we finished tasting, we wandered around the gift shop a little and then set out to find some food and get on the road to Germany. (We actually didn't end up getting something to eat until we arrived at our hotel in Germany, but luckily I had a baguette and and a hunk of Comte from Paris for us to snack on. I still wonder to this day why I didn't grab at least five baguettes before we left.)

Gift shop at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

Gift shop at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, FranceGift shop at Moet & Chandon, Epernay, France

We really hope to return to Epernay and Reims and visit some other Champagne houses too. I think it would be fun to visit a bunch of them and compare them. I'm sure the tours and processes at the smaller Champagne houses differ from those at Moet & Chandon and are just as interesting.

I hope you all get to celebrate New Year's Eve with a little bubbly, whether Champagne, sparkling wine, or sparkling cider. Best wishes for the New Year!

What's your favorite bubbly?


Joanne (eats well with others) said...

My dad only ever bought Moet for us so I think it's super cool that you actually went to visit their cave! Amazing. Happy new year chica!

Colleen said...

This looks amazing! What a great experience and fun memory :)
Happy New Year, Megan! :)

Michelle Lahey said...

This looks like the best day ever. Hope you had a great holiday & New Year's!

Meghan said...

This looks absolutely amazing!

Sacha said...

What a fitting post for New Year's Eve! I love how excited you look (as you said) in front of the Moet et Chandon sign.

Victoria said...

Looks fun! I would love to tour Moet & Chandon. Happy New Year :-D

chezsasha.com said...

Looks super fun! France is simply the best - no question about it ;)
Happy new year, Megan!

In and Around Town said...

So fun! I would love to spend a few days in Champagne - love the photos! If you want to learn more about the process, the book, "The Widow Clicquot" is really informative. I must say though (having not been to France) Schramsberg in Napa does produce some amazing sparking wines. We are opening a lovely rose this evening to celebrate the New Year!