Champagne's small, independent producers can be found throughout the region, and often let you tour their caves or partake in a tasting. If you're looking to visit the major houses, as we were, you'll want to stick to the city of Reims and the town of Épernay. Here you'll find all the major exporters: Moët and Chandon, Pommery, Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger and many more. Take the cave tour to learn about the the process that turns grapes into champagne....and for the tasting that follows. Taittinger's caves were the most interesting as they include areas dug during the Gallo-Roman era in the 4th century as well as all that remains of the Saint Nicaise Abbey whose Benedictine monks built caves for their own champagne creation. The rest of the Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution. For an excellent tasting experience, request a private tasting in advance at Moët and Chandon. As you sip your Millésimé 2000 in the quiet garden you'll truly feel like a V.I.P.
After all, if it's not made in Champagne, it's just sparkling wine.