Destinations

A wine lover's guide to the Champagne region

When in Reims: Cellar tours, rolling vineyards and the world’s best Champagne

By Gourmet Traveller + Champagne Lanson
For a bottle to earn the Champagne title, it must be made to specific standards within the Champagne region in northeast France, a mere 90-minute drive from Paris. Once a historic province, this area is now known for producing the world's most prominent sparkling wines — and welcomes wine-loving visitors year-round.
Just as Champagne is synonymous with celebration, so too is a trip to the wine-making territory. Gain a deeper appreciation of the vine to flute process while treating your tastebuds to a top drop amongst idyllic countryside. Provincial towns, rolling hills of vineyards and — of course — premium bubbly await.

When to visit the Champagne region

Each season has its pros and cons, but the perfect time to visit is undoubtedly Autumn. While harvest time in late summer is the busiest season, autumn is when the fragrant aroma of fermenting Champagne grapes fills the air. The heat has dissipated, the crowds have retreated, and the vines change from green to gold, making it a great time to explore the vineyards.

The Champagne region’s best pick

So, where to start? As the unofficial capital of the wine-growing region, Reims is the perfect base to discover the city's Champagne houses. If you only have time for one stop, make it Maison Lanson.
Explore Maison Lanson with a cellar door tasting tour.
Founded in 1760, Lanson is one of the oldest Champagne houses and is the official supplier to the Royal Court of England since 1900. It also has of the largest 100% organic vineyards in the territory, tapping into a new era of sustainable viticulture. But the real drawcard of this Maison is the unique cellar tour experience.
Traversing Lanson's one hectare urban 'clos' (the term for a French vineyard), the tour offers an insight into the vinification process from grapes to glass. It also grants access to the esteemed cellars of Maison Lanson, which holds one of the finest collections of vintage Champagnes in the world, dating back to 1904. Presided over by Lanson's esteemed Cellar Master Hervé Dantan, each bottle has a long cellar ageing time.
Bring the Champagne region to you with a bottle of Lanson's Le Black Label Champagne.

The top drop

Le Black Label Champagne, for instance, is as complex as it is crowd-pleasing, putting this brut-style Champagne at the top of the must-try list when sipping your way across the region. The smooth and versatile flavour is well-suited to a variety of palates, as it's a classic style blended with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and rounded out Pinot Meunier grapes.
Le Back Label tasting notes:
• Colour: Light and clear with amber highlights and a smattering of fine bubbles.
• Aroma: Fruity notes of William pear, apple and citrus fruits compliment the aromas of freshly baked pastries.
• Palate: Bouquets of ripe orchard fruit, tangerine, lemon and grapefruit freshen the palate delivering a fresh sensation. Notes of brioche and dried fruit add a touch of maturity.
Brought to you by Champagne Lanson. If a visit to Champagne isn't on the horizon, bring the French wine region to you. Lanson Le Black Label NV Champagne is available online or in-store at Dan Murphy's. Drink responsibly, 18+.