Champagne at Chateau Les Crayéres – Reims

It is finally Friday and I am in the mood for some champagne-talk. So reminiscing our visit to Chateau Les Crayeres seems like the topic to take up today. Les Crayeres is a Chateau, a hotel and a restaurant located close to the center of Reims right next to Vranken Pommery. Sounds fancy? That it is, but also a pretty good place to stop by for a glass of bubbly. Regardless of the shiny exterior, it is a relaxed and warm environment to sip on your champagne.

It was a few weeks back, a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon in Reims. We were walking around getting a feel for the city and taking the opportunity to tour some champagne houses (the few ones that were open). We had been walking all day, mainly because the other option was taking a taxi, and with the last drips of energy we headed towards Les Crayeres located on the “other side” of the small town. We got a little lost on the way, which added to the tiredness, but finally found our way to the mansion.

courtyard at Les Crayeres
The courtyard and terrace of Le Rotonde Bar
Inner yard Les Crayeres
I would not mind resting my legs on one of those chairs
Le Rotonde Bar
Le Rotonde Bar

Exhausted after our walk, we were shown to the inner yard, the terrace of Le Rotonde Bar. The view was amazing, like from a movie. A beautiful garden, black iron tables and chairs and an international crowd sipping bubbly with posh staff trotting around. All sweaty from the long walk I felt slightly out of place, but what the hell, I was thirsty for bubbles.

The champagne list was not long, however it was interesting. They had the Jaquesson 737 NV as their basic cuvee, a Henriot Rose Millesime 2008 and a few other interesting vintages by the glass. We did not even browse the list for full bottles, but I can imagine it being long. We opted for the first two, Jaquesson and Henriot and sat down to relax on the sunny terrace. The service was spotless and our champagne tasted like a million dollars. All was well!

Le Rotonde Bar
Le Rotonde Bar
Les Crayeres entrance
The front door

Even though Les Creyeres seems very upscale, the price list was only moderately high. We paid around 14€ per glass, which was acceptable.We also received some complementary snacks to have with our bubbly. I am a sucker for snacks, so I was sold.

After we were finished with our glasses we had a look around the beautiful bar and courtyard. We chatted (as if we could afford it) that next time we come to Reims it would be fun to stay here. The restaurant at Les Crayeres, Le Parc has two stars and they also have a Brasserie that has perhaps slightly more humane prices. Now browsing at their webpage I can see that they do some quite moderately prices packages for hotel stay and restaurant, so that could in fact be an option. Now I know what I want for my birthday!

Wineweek 23: Reims Edition

If you don’t count Monday, this has been a pretty quiet wine-week, at least when it comes to drinking wine. Perhaps we overdosed, in terms of tasting not drinking, in Paris and Reims, and this weekend we have just had a few glasses. However, I still have a lot to share with you from last Sunday in Reims and also some news regarding our company.

As Paris seemed to quiet down for the Sunday, we headed to Reims a day before the Terres & Vins event. A few big champagne houses had their doors open and we decided to take a tour or two, just to see how a big producer is organized, and well, to taste a few glasses of champagne. We basically had three, decent ones, to choose from: G.H. Mumm, Tattinger and Vranken Pommery. As Pommery charged close to 70€ for their tours with any decent tasting options, we opted for Mumm, one of my old favorites. Luckily our hotel Mercure also had a nice discount for the tours, so we got a significant reduction for the Blanc & Noir experience which was a tour through the cellars and a tasting of two champagnes: the blanc de blancs and blanc de noirs (25€ per person). We were already familiar with Mumm de Cramant, the 100% Chardonnay champagne (review here), so our expectations were high.

TGV from Paris to Reims
TGV from Paris to Reims
Touring at the G.H.Mumm cellears
Touring at the G.H.Mumm cellears
The Blanc and Noir tasting at the end of the Mumm tour
The Blanc and Noir tasting at the end of the Mumm tour

After touring at Mumm, we walked around in Reims admiring all the beautiful champagne houses and headed for afternoon bubbly at Les Crayeres, a beautiful mansion hotel with supposedly a great champagne bar. We had heard some good things, but after the disappointment of the much hyped about Bar 8 (Wineweek 22) we were cautious with our expectation. However, Les Crayeres did not let us down. The bar was absolutely beautiful with a lot of light and plush sofas. We had our drinks in the garden, which was like a scene from a movie with an international and happy crowd sipping wine. Les Crayeres also has a two Michelin star restaurant, which was to our disappointment fully booked (we tried making reservations earlier in the week). To compensate, we had to go to the town three star instead.

Sunday evening we headed to L’Assiette Champenoise, the three star restaurant of Arnaud Lallement. We don’t go to such extravagant places that often, but I have visited a few three star restaurants before this one. It is always a small investment to eat in such a place, but you pay not only for great food, but an experience. I will write more about the the restaurant later, but to describe the evening with a few words, the service was not as impressive as I have seen at many other starred (especially three starred) restaurants. Perhaps it was speaking English that made some of the staff uncomfortable. However it was nothing to really complain about and the food was out of this world.

The Reims Cathedral
The Reims Cathedral
I wish we could have gotten in here
I wish we could have gotten in here
Les Crayeres
Les Crayeres
Aperatiffs at L'Asiette Champenoise
Aperatiffs at L’Asiette Champenoise
My dessert at L'Asiette
My dessert at L’Asiette

That is about it regarding Reims, and now to some good news regarding our company. We will be taking in at least four new producers this spring: Rimarts (Cava), Quinta do Escudial (red and white), Antonio Madeira (red) and Quinta da Pellada (red, rosé and white). Orders to our Danish warehouse have been made and we will open for orders of these in mid May. This is a perfect time to stock up on wines to enjoy over summer vacation. We are also waiting for order confirmation from a fifth producer, but more about that when we have some certainty. It feels wonderful to be able to extend our selection. Of course we will also continue to have our trusted Llagrima d’Or and Peret Fuster wines for sale.