Teasing All the Senses: Wine Tasting in Champagne

There’s a certain magic to champagne. One of the world’s most prestigious wines – and certainly the most famous bubbly – this effervescent tipple lends a celebratory air to any occasion.

It also exudes a feeling of luxury. It’s the epitome of glamour and sophistication captured in a bottle. So it’s little wonder that wine tours in Champagne are in high demand.

If you’re planning a bubbly filled jolly around France’s fabled vines, be prepared for an assault on the senses, because champagne, more than any other type of wine, arouses all the senses…

The Sensations of Champagne Tasting

Legend states that the 17th century Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon, exclaimed, ‘Come quickly! I’m tasting the stars!’ when sampling his first sparkling wine. True or not, champagne has an ethereal quality that stimulates the ears, eyes, nose and mouth, resulting in an intense pleasure that’s perfect for joyous, festive occasions.

First, there’s a distinct sound. A discreet pop when the bottle is opened – more of a whisper than a bang – then a deeply satisfying fizzing as that wonderful effervescence is released into the glass. Followed by the obligatory clinking of glasses, of course.

Champagne is a sight to behold. It sparkles into life as its poured and is a joy to watch, as tiny sparkling bubbles rise to the surface. Bubbles are great indicators, too. Small, refined bubbles suggest a superior quality, while aged vintages have fewer bubbles that move at slower speed. Then there’s the clarity and colour of the liquid. Younger champagnes are pale with an almost translucent quality. As they age, they take on straw-like hues before developing golden, honeyed tones, while becoming denser and more opaque. 

Smelling champagne is different to most wines. There’s little need to swirl to release the bouquet; those magical bubbles do all the work, though a gentle swirl can’t hurt. Then tune into to your nose. Is the scent strong or mild? Delicate or full? Are the prominent notes aromatic, floral, fruity, mineral or yeasty?

Once your mouth is watering in anticipation, it’s time to taste. Take a light sip and roll the wine around your palate, letting the flavours develop naturally. Common notes include citrus or tropical fruits, green apple, spices, nuts and the yeasty suggestion of toast or brioche. Pause after swallowing – fine champagnes have a delightful aftertaste that lingers long on the palate.

Finally, there’s the sensation of touch – the coolness of the glass between your fingers and the feel of the cork after uncorking (which should be slightly moist). But most excitingly it’s the mouthfeel, the sensation and texture of the wine and bubbles as they caress your mouth and tongue.

Wine Tours in Champagne

When embarking on a Champagne wine tour, it’s not just the wine that will excite your senses. Feast your eyes on rows of vines parading up hillsides, admire historic monuments and subterranean cellars, savour rich and rustic cuisine, and stay in luxurious hotels and chateaux.

The Abbaye d’Hautvillers

For a truly romantic stay, our Luxury Chateau Champagne Experience will sweep you off your feet. You’ll visit three boutique champagne estates, enjoy a rustic Champenoise vineyard lunch, and visit the city of Reims and tomb of Dom Pérignon from your chateaux base.

For a true taste of luxury, our Royal Champagne Hotel Getaway takes you to one of the region’s most prestigious hotels, where you’ll enjoy a Michelin-starred meal and spa pampering, as well as a private tour around three renowned champagne estates.

All our Champagne wine tours can be arranged to suit your requirements. To book your bespoke private wine tour in Champagne, contact sales@smoothred.com or call +44 208 877 4940 for more information.

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