Chablis & Champagne 2013

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ANOTHER WINE TOUR FOR WINE LOVERS BY WINE LOVERS!

Members of the Harrogate Medical Wine Society were in Chablis & Champagne again this autumn. This page documents the two centre tour.

Pick up/Drop off point in Harrogate: 1 Ash Road

  • Dates: Sunday 17 November to Sunday 24 November 2013. Two nights in Chablis, three nights in Reims and two nights on the Hull-Zeebrugge Ferry.
  • Travel: From Harrogate by Eddie Brown Tours 38-seater luxury coach and P&O North Sea Ferries from Hull to Zeebrugge and back with outside twin-berth cabins and meals on board. Most Members uparaded to Club cabins and meals in the Langans a la carte restaurant.
  • Hotels: Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis with Comfort Rooms and Hotel de la Paix in Reims using Privilege Class rooms
  • Tastings: William Fevre, Chateau de Béru (Tasting Lunch) and Domaine Long-Depaquit (Tasting Dinner) in Chablis. Chartogne-Taillet, Théonot, Pierre-Gimonnet (Tasting Lunch), Jérome Prévost and Bruno Paillard (Late Disgorged Champagne Masterclass) in Champagne. Tasting lunch at Jacques Selosse restaurant in Avize.
  • Group size: 17
  • Cost: £461 + €767 pp twin sharing inclusive of luxury coach travel, Hull/Zeebrugge/Hull ferry crossing with twin-berth outside cabins, dinners and breakfasts on the ferry, five nights B&B accommodation, all lunches with wine, one tasting dinner, all tastings, driver’s expenses and beverages on the coach. Single supplement was £39 + €183 pp.

ITINERARY AT A GLANCE

  • Day 1: Late afternoon coach to Hull. Pick up points were 1, Ash Road in Harrogate and the Ferrybridge service area on the A1. Overnight P&O ferry to Zeebrugge
  • Day 2: Drive to Chablis with picnic lunch en route. Tasting dinner at Chateau Long-Depaquit at 6pm. Overnight Chablis (Hostellerie des Clos)
  • Day 3: Tasting lunch at Chateau de Béru. Afternoon (4pm) tasting at William Fevre. Overnigt Chablis
  • Day 4: Drive to Reims. Tasting at Champagne Chartogne-Taillet at 11am. Picnic Lunch. Optional afternoon tasting at Champagne Théonot at 4pm. Overnight Reims (Hotel de la Paix)
  • Day 5: Morning tasting (10 am) and lunch at Champagne Pierre-Gimonnet. Afternoon (4pm) optional tasting at Champagne Jerome Prévost. Overnight Reims
  • Day 6: Optional morning Late Disgorged Champagne master class by Bruno Paillard at 10am. Tasting lunch at Jacques Selosse restaurant in Avize (1pm). Overnight Reims
  • Day 7: Drive to Zeebrugge with picnic lunch en route. Dinner & overnight ferry to Hull
  • Day 8: Arrive Hull. Disembark after breakfast & drive to Harrogate

Trip Report

Day 1, Sunday

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We left Harrogate in the mid afternoon taking the A1, M62 route to Hull. Brief stop was made at Ferrybridge and afternoon tea served. As we sped towards Hull, the first bottles of champagne were uncorked. On board the ferry, it was time to relax, dine and enjoy the overnight cruise to Zeebrugge.

Day 2, Monday

Road to Chablis

Road to Chablis

We disembarked after breakfast and drove through Belgium pass the ancient city of Bruges to cross the French boarder at Lille. Mid morning biscuits and coffee were served near Arras and soon it was time for the pre-lunch ‘blind tasting on wheels.’ We stopped at an Aire for a light picnic lunch with a glass of wine after we passed Reims and settled down for a period of calm and rest as the coach sped pass Troyes towards Chablis. Afternoon tea was served before we sighted the first vineyards of Chablis. The distance from Zeebrugge to Chablis is about 500 kms. and the driving time is about 5 hrs. We arrived in Chablis at 5.30 pm. Hostellerie des Clos was our base in Chablis for the next two nights. The first tasting of the tour was at Chateau Long-Depaquit (45 rue Auxerroise, CHABLIS, 89800 – a short walk from the hotel) starting at 6pm. where winemaker Matthieu Mangenot hosted a tasting dinner.

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The menu and wines were as follows:

  • A glass of Crémant Reserve to start.
  • Cassolette de noix de st jacques + Chablis 1er Cru Vaucopins 2010.
  • Dos de cabillaud + Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots 2009.
  • Cheese + Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne 2001 Magnum (or 2004). (I will try to have some Comté cheese, awesome with older vintages.- Matthieu)
  • Desert with Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne 2003.

Day 3, Tuesday

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After a sumptuous and leisurely breakfast we drove to the 400 year old Chateau de Béru nestling in its own ancient Chablis vineyards. We visited the ancient castle with Madame Béru and toured the vineyards including Clos de Béru monopole with winemaker Athénais de Béru. A vertical tasting of Clos de Béru from 2005 to 2010 and lunch followed.

http://www.chateaudeberu.com

The afternoon tasting was at William Fevre and was followed by an optional dinner at Bistrot des Grands Crus in Chablis. The tasting list included:

  • Chablis 2012, Vaillons 2011
  • Mont de Milieu 2011
  • Vaulorent 2011
  • Côte Bouguerots 2011
  • Grand Cru Les Clos 2011.

Day 4, Wednesday

Road to Reims

Road to Reims

We left Chablis after breakfast and drove north towards Reims. Our first tasting of the day was in the village of Merfy, north-west of Reims, where Chartogne-Taillet produce their highly regarded 6-10 cuvees from organically grown grapes. We tasted with  winemaker Alexandre Chartogne. After a simple picnic lunch with typical Burgundy and Champagne-Ardenne produce (Jambon persillé, Bresis, Rosette, Gougére, Chaource etc), we drove to Reims to checkin at Hotel de la Paix. Rest of the day wass free to explore Reims and shopping or to join the optional tasting with Stanislas Théonot at Champagne Théonot at Taissy, just outside Reims. www.thienotgroup.com

Day 5, Thursday

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We drove to Cuis in the Cote des Blancs after breakfast to taste & lunch with winemaker Didier Gimonnet at Champagne Pierre-Gimonnet*. We returned to Reims and had an optional tasting at Champagne Jérome Provest in Gueux at 4pm.

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With Jéromw Prévost

With Jérome Prévost

Day 6, Friday

Bruno Paillard

Bruno Paillard

After breakfast, we drove the short distance to Champagne Bruno Paillard, situated on the outskirts of Reims on the road to Epernay, for a tasting of Late Disgorged Champagne tutored by Mr. Bruno Paillard himself. We drove to Avize for lunch at the Selosse Restaurant with Jacques Selosse wines. The evening was free.

With Selosse

With Selosse

Tasting lunch at Selosse (Photo - Tony Stanier)

Tasting lunch at Selosse (Photo – Tony Stanier)

 

Day 7, Saturday

After a quick visit to the covered Saturday market for local produce and a final round of shopping after breakfast, we started the relaxed drive to Zeebrugge with an extended stop for a sumptuous picnic lunch with typical Champagne region produce and wine. We crossed the Channel with P&O North Sea Ferries again in outside cabins with twin berths and dinner in the Four Seasons Restaurant and Langans Brasserie.

Day 8, Sunday

We reached Hull at about 8.30 am and disembarked after breakfast (fresh fruit salad, smoked salmon & scrambled eggs) for the drive back to Harrogate.

Comments:

 “I just spoke over the phone with Athenais de Beru who told me that she had a great time with your group last week. I was wondering if you were coming to London from time to time, and if I should add your email to our mailing list. We are doing twice a year tasting with producers in London and also few more events during the year.” – Laura Brousset, DYNAMIC VINES, London http://www.dynamicvines.com/

Dynamic Vines are the UK agents for Chateau de Beru. – BD

“I was very delighted to receive you and your team. It was a real pleasure. I will let you know when our visitor centre will be operational and we will organise a visit and diner there.” – Stanislas Thiénot, Champagne Thienot, 25th November www.thienotbc.com

“It was really nice to see you once again and I hope I’ll see again next time you’ll be around.” – Thierry Roman, Reservations Manager, Hotel de la Paix, Reims, 25th Novemberwww.hotel-lapaix.fr

“It was a pleasure to welcome you at the Avisés and I inform Nathalie and the team of your email. Looking forward to welcome you another time.” – Aurore, Domaine JACQUES SELOSSE, 25th November http://www.selosse-lesavises.com/

“What a super trip, you are so good at providing us with adventures abroad. Wouldn’t be the same without you and Ramani. Thanks so much again.” – Ann Joslin, Harrogate, 25th November

“Charles and I wanted to say a big thank you for the super trip you organised. As always it was very memorable and lovely to see Matthieu again and to enjoy a good tasting at Chateau Long- Depaquit followed by that delicious dinner. Sitting next to Matthieu was a great treat too. The Chateau de Beru was very special with the charming mother and daughter team. The interesting chateau with it’s wonderful antiques and history, not forgetting of course, the interesting wines that Athenais has developed over the last few years plus her interest in maturing her wine in Georgian style casks. Reims did not disappoint with the German Xmas market, shopping and eating. Although I didn’t take part in the “serious” tastings, it was a great pleasure to see Didier Gimonnet and his wife again and taste his Champagnes, which I personally love and then a lovely lunch with a belated Birthday cake for You. It is always a bit sad to have to leave after such an enjoyable trip but we were all tired and of course had to go home. So thank you again for all you have done to ensure our adventure was a success.” – Ann & Charles (Joslin), Harrogate, 28th November

“You certainly did save the best of your many trips to these areas, until last. No other visit to these Regions has offered Gloria and I, so much constructive information, which we shall be able to draw upon in the future.  As usual the organisation and selection of Houses to visit, in both Chablis and Champagne, was first class. The enthusiasm of small and large producers alike, for their product and reasoning for the production techniques, which they adopted, was most impressive. A most rewarding experience throughout, shared with a lovely group of fellow members of “your” HMWS.” – Douglas & Gloria McFarlane, Harrogate, 29th November

The Group

Robert Buckley, Dr. Bernard Dias, Ramani Dias, Jane Greenwood, Dr. David Jobling, Jan Jobling, Ann Joslin, Prof. Charles Joslin, Jackie Lyles, Douglas McFarlane, Gloria McFarlane, Carol Murphy, Peter Murphy, Tony Stanier, Joan Stables, Jane Trewhella and Carole Wood.

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4 thoughts on “Chablis & Champagne 2013

  1. sounds very good Bernard look forward to going hope we get the numbers to make it viable Best wishes Carol ad Peterxx

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  2. Sounds fantastic, as indeed have all the autum Chablis and Champagne trips been,
    Can’t wait well done Bernard.Tony Stanier

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  3. This was a truly remarkable visit. A holiday of sumptuous quality in food, and especially the wine, coupled with a tremendous education. The calibre of the winemakers, who were so generous with their time, was staggering. We are so lucky to have someone such as Bernard, who is clearly highly regarded by such eminent and busy people, able to open such hallowed cellar doors to us all. Before this trip I thought I knew a bit about Chablis and Champagne. I now know many times more than I knew before we went – but am equally aware of how little I know when I listen to Bernard. His passion for wines mirrored that of the great producers he took us to visit.
    I must add that I also thoroughly enjoyed the often beautiful and historic locations to which we were taken. The tasting and dining rooms in Chablis were all gorgeous and full of art and history. From this perspective the chateau de Beru was particularly memorable. I was especially taken with the story of Le Chevalier D’Eon and have done subsequent research (no Peter, Pauline’s wardrobe is still in tact). Champagne provided more diverse tasting environments. The pristine, modern establishments of Thienot and Paillard were not to my taste (though the wines most certainly were). The homely charm of the Gimonnet tasting made me realise that it was not just the extraordinary good value /high quality blanc de blancs champagnes which explain the great affection with which former visitors speak of Didier. A few of us experienced the rustic charms of Jerome Prevost’s tiny and rustically cold cellar tasting. It had the ambience of a peasant wine farmer’s establishment – but when you tasted the wines, even the embryonic ones still in barrel, you felt that this man of vision will not always be a peasant winemaker.
    As a novice to one of these trips I would like to also thank the other members of the party who were so friendly and welcoming. I also learned much from others, particularly Peter Murphy and Carole Wood – although I have been doing that for decades.
    Most of all I would again like to thank Bernard. Having independently organised a number of foreign trips for sixth formers I understand what a stress it can be. There is always some idiot in the party who does something stupid, like not being able to find their passport! Bernard always deals in such an overtly calm and sympathetic fashion with such provocations.
    For me, as for Bernard, the stand out wine of the tour was the Thienot vintage. Personally I don’t think I have tasted a better champagne. At 71 euro this is not in my price bracket – but I thought much more refined and complex than the Selosse wines at 123 and 170 euro plus.
    I have only one gripe about the trip. Why is there no photo of Athenais from Clos de Beru on this blog?
    A wonderful trip – hope I can get permission to do something similar again some day!

    With gratitude,
    Rob.

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