Nothing but a standard Champagne!
In my search for wine bargains there is one experience I specially would like to share with you. If you're in Champagne (all roads lead to Reims), you should take the opportunity to go to the Cote des Blancs, which is approximately 40 km south of the regional city of Reims. If you prefer to use public transport, you can take express train from Paris to both Reims and nearby Epernay.
In the Côte des Blancs you will find the best small Champagne houses that deliver heavenly good quality and often to sensationally good prices. Unfortunately, only a limited proportion of these Champagnes reach a broader market outside France. Is it not strange that we celebrate the small cult producers making red wines, but often forget them when we speak of this divine wine with fine bubbles. (Maybe because of the big Champagne houses market strength, like Moet)
My absolute favourite small village in this area is called Cramant. A fabulously beautiful place high up in the valley with magical views of the Champagne fields as far as the eye can see. Due to the unique soil with large accumulation of chalk, Chardonnay is grown with great success. The village is declared a Grand Cru village and has consistently high quality production from its various Champagne makers. In my search I found a relatively unknown producer from Cramant who really deserve to be in the spotlight. (In the picture above you will find their property in the top right corner and you can also find the address via this google maps link)
Now to this Grand Cru Champagne. It is produced by using only Chardonnay grapes from Cramant. It has a beautiful golden colour. The scent is seductive with glorious hues of fruits and summer flowers. The taste is dry with good fruit, wonderful creaminess and long suggestive after taste. Its magic when we find this kind of quality at comparatively low price. In perspective with other standard champagnes you can buy, it outperforms most part even though half the price (but you must buy it in Cramant ). I can really recommend to try their champagnes when making a visit. And you will most likely get the great pleasure of guidance from Eric's wife Carole.
I can reveal that this admirable ("anything but standard") Champagne is our family's new house champagne (together with Pierre Peters) and will certainly remain as long as quality and price are maintained at these attractive levels.
If you want to stay over the night in this part of Champagne, you can contact me via email. I would be happy to share my experience on suitable accommodations in the area.