Visit Burgundy’s Oldest Winemakers for Maison Champy Wine-Tasting Experience
Does it get any more indulgent than sampling exceptional wines at the vineyards of Burgundy’s oldest wine company? Since its founding in 1720, Maison Champy has been producing award-winning wines, and it’s the newest stop on Finesse’s itinerary…
What is so special about Maison Champy?
Maison Champy owns around twenty-one hectares of vines and most of these are massed on the Côte de Beaune. This region of France is famous for producing some of the world’s most expensive white wines and for fermenting a very small proportion of Burgundy’s best reds.
Maison Champy makes both white and red wines, of which the most prestigious is Grand Cru. Another speciality of this experienced wine-maker is Pernand-Vergelesses premier crus, which is known for its intense ruby colour. Planted in 1158 by the monks of the Abbey of Maizières, Le Clos de Bully in this region is one of the oldest in Burgundy. Harvesting is organic to preserve and highlight the true character of the unique terrain that the grapes are grown in.
History of Maison Champy
The Champy family established themselves in the early eighteenth century and the French Revolution aided their ambitions to buy more land in Beaune. The civil war in 1779 enabled Maison Champy to expand its influence in the region and the family acquired additional land to plant more vineyards.
Maison Champy prospered again in the nineteenth century after supporting the scientific discoveries of Louis Pasteur. The forward-thinking attitude of Maison Champy meant that their wine cellars were the origin of the invention of ‘pasteurisation’ in the 1860s. Although the pasteurisation process is now widely identified with the dairy industry, it was in fact wine that was responsible for its invention!
However, Maison Champy didn’t limit itself just to winemaking and science. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the company invested in engineering after being inspired by the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In 1890, a winery, fermentation cellar and wine cellar were all built in cutting-edge ‘Eiffel’ style.
Within a decade, Maison Champy was exhibiting its wines at fairs and international exhibitions, gaining a formidable reputation as one of the best winemakers in Burgundy. For two successive years in 1889 and 1900 at the Universal Exhibitions in Paris, Maison Champy was recognised with gold medals.
Today, Maison Champy is still a major player in the Côte de Beaune, exporting its prestigious wines all over the word.
The experience and booking a place on Finesse
The new Maison Champy wine-tasting experience, lunch and vineyard tour can be enjoyed on the Finesse classic cruise itinerary and the themed cruises offering a ‘golf’ or ‘wine’ experience. Families can also choose to visit the vineyard, where a juice tasting is offered for younger guests!
The visit to Maison Champy starts after breakfast on the Wednesday of every cruise. After a drive through the UNESCO-listed Côte de Beaune vineyards, guests arrive in the capital of Burgundy’s wine country, the town of Beaune. When guests arrive at Maison Champey, they will be escorted through the vineyards by Finesse’s captain, who will tell them about the landscape that surrounds them and the vineyard itself. On arrival at the winehouse, a wine expert will take over to give the company a private tour of the wine cellars and a wine tasting experience. Guests will learn about the production of the region’s finest Premier and Grand Cru wines, trying two Premier Crus and three Grand Crus – one of which is from one of their best plots.
A private lunch will follow at CUVE 17. This unmissable and unique dining venue has been created from one of the winery’s historic wooden wine vats, known as “cuves”. An exceptional four-course seasonal lunch (including cheese) is served with wine pairings of Premier and Grand Crus. Guests will be able to choose in advance from a range of dishes on a set menu which changes throughout the year.
Following the Maison Champy experience, guests visit the stunning 15th century Hôtel-Dieu Hospice and return to the barge for an afternoon cruise past the charming little town of Chagny.
If you would like to find out more about a barge trip aboard Finesse then why not browse our website for a full itinerary and prices? Speak to a member of our Cruise Teams via our Contact Form for more information, or order your free copy of our brochure.