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Wine & Food Highlights of Champagne & Burgundy 

October 15–24, 2015 (10 days)

Join us on this Pauwels exclusive tour with acclaimed wine judge and writer Tony Aspler, CM. This tour, just after harvest time in France, features curated visits and tastings at top wine estates dining in acclaimed restaurants, and stays in boutique hotels. This trip is designed to get "off the beaten path" and explore hidden treasures. An experience not to be missed!

This exclusive tour is limited to 20 people.

For full terms and application form, please download the PDF.

Our host, Tony Aspler, CM; Vineyards of Bouchard Père et Fils

We are thrilled that Tony Aspler, a long-time partner of Pauwels, will be one of our tour leaders for this program. He has been writing, judging and educating about wine for over 30 years. He was the wine columnist for The Toronto Star for 21 years and has authored sixteen books on wine and food. Tony's articles have appeared in Wine Spectator, Decanter, Meininger's Wine Business International and Tidings.

Tony is also the creator of the annual Ontario Wine Awards competition, an honorary governor of Cuvée and a director of the Independent Wine & Spirit Trust. In December 2007, Tony was awarded the Order of Canada.

Working with Tony and other friends in Champagne and Burgundy, we have created this exclusive itinerary which is sure to delight as we explore this wonderful part of the world with visits to acclaimed wineries and restaurants, stays in boutique hotels, and a chance for you to unwind as well.

Tour price: $5,895 per person from Toronto, including airfare and taxes, and based on double occupancy. Single traveler supplement; $1,295

Planned Itinerary

Day 1 – Thursday, October 15:
We have an early evening departure from Toronto International Airport direct to Paris with Air Canada on Flight #880. Dinner and a light breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 – Friday, October 16: Paris to Champagne
We arrive in Paris around 9:00 AM. A deluxe coach will take us to Epernay in the heart of Champagne. We'll arrive for afternoon check-in to our boutique hotel, the excellent Hostellerie la Briqueterie, a five-star Relais & Chateaux property. Home to a Michelin-starred restaurant and a wonderful spa, this will be where we will stay for the next three nights! We'll have free time to settle in before our welcome dinner.

Days 3 and 4 – Saturday, October 17 and Sunday October 18: Champagne
Over the next two days, we will explore the champagnes and food in the historic towns of Reims and Epernay. These two towns are at the heart of Champagne – boasting numerous champagne houses – from the large iconic champagnes such as Veuve Cliquot to the smaller grower champagnes that rarely leave the area. We will have visits and tastings with a range of producers, including Dom Pérignon and Möet & Chandon on Saturday. We will have a chance to explore the towns (including the magnificent Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims, where French kings were crowned for centuries), and have dinners at excellent restaurants.

Day 5 – Monday, October 19: Champagne to Burgundy
This morning we leave Champagne full of food and excellent champagnes, and head to Beaune, capital of the world-famous Côte d'Or, or "golden slope" wine region of Burgundy, and our base for the next four days. Our plan is to stop along the way and have a few hours to explore the ancient capital of Burgundy, Dijon. It is an opportunity to do some shopping, in the wonderful covered market, in the "Parisian" department store Galeries Lafayette, and/or at the world-famous shop of Maille, founded in 1845, grand spécialiste in Dijon mustard. Lovers of art and history, on the other hand, will want to visit cultural attractions such as the nearby Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Cathedral.

Late afternoon arrival at our home for the next four nights, the boutique hotel Hotel de La Poste. Centrally located in Beaune, and with parts of it dating back to 1660, it is a short walk to the heart of this charming old walled town.

Day 6 – Tuesday, October 20: Burgundy
Much of our day today will involve an exploration of the exceptional wines produced by one of the leading families in the world of wine, the Boisset family. Founded in the early 1960s with the family's first vines at the north of Gevrey-Chambertin, the family now has extensive vineyard holdings throughout both the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, and owns and operates numerous wineries in France and North America. We have been invited for a visit and tasting at Domaine de la Vougeraie (, created from the union of several estates acquired over the years together with the Boisset family's first vineyards.

We also plan a tour of the historic Château du Clos de Vougeot. The Clos de Vougeot vineyard is the largest single vineyard in Côte de Nuits entitled to the grand cru designation, and was created in the 12th Century by Cistercian monks of Cîteaux Abbey. It served as the flagship vineyard of the Cistercians, and has been a highly recognized name for centuries. The Château de Clos de Vougeot, situated inside the wall, was added in 1551. The Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin acquired the Château in 1945, and started to restore it, turning it into the seat of the Order.

Barrel cellar at Domaine de la Vougerie; Chateau de Clos de Vougeot and the Hospices de Beaune

Day 7 – Wednesday, October 21: Burgundy
After breakfast, we plan to have a guided tour of Beaune's renowned Hospice, a superb medieval architectural complex featuring the interior of a Medieval Hospital as well as an art gallery; the Hospice is also the site of the famous annual auction of some of the best wines of Burgundy. We then have a free afternoon to explore beautiful Beaune of your own or to shop in the many local specialty shops. Perhaps a visit for more wines at the Marche au Vins, and a chance to relax in one of the bistros and cafés.

Day 8 – Thursday, October 22: Burgundy
This morning we will make our way for an exclusive tour and tasting at the venerable producer Remoissenet Père et Fils. Founded in 1877, Remoissenet has cellars below the town of Beaune holding thousands of Premier and Grand Cru bottlings dating back to the early 20th Century. After generations of family ownership, it is now partly owned by the Halpern family of Toronto. The estate has experienced a renaissance and should be viewed as a new winery with a glorious cellar of historic wines.

The firm has specialized in old vintages, and has now expanded its vineyard holdings in Clos de Vougeot, Charmes-Chambertin, Poissenot, Village Nuits, Vosne, and Gevrey-Chambertin. They are constantly seeking out new parcels to add to their holdings. Everything is in place to produce the finest wines possible from the region and if the current scores are any indication, Remoissenet is returning to the list of elite producers of the Cote d'Or.

Following lunch, we are being hosted for another exceptional tasting at Bouchard Père et Fils. Founded in 1731, Bouchard Père & Fils is one of the oldest wine estates in Burgundy. The cellars run deep underground beneath The Château de Beaune, a former royal fortress built in the 15th century by King Louis XI, providing ideal natural storage conditions for Bouchard Père & Fils' wines. The biggest domaine in the Côte d'Or, the estate boasts 130 hectares of vines, of which 12 are classed Grand Cru and 74 classed as Premier Cru.

The home of Bouchard Père et Fils in Beaune; Welcome to Champagne!

Day 9 – Friday, October 23: Chablis and Chantilly
After breakfast, we will leave Beaune on our way back to Paris. But all is not lost! We will pay a visit to William Fèvre (, producer of exceptional Chablis wines. They will host us for a tasting and lunch at the estate. Founded in 1959, and now made up of 78 hectares and 90 separate parcels spread across Chablis, Domaine William Fèvre's vineyards enjoy both a great complexity and incredible richness. Our visit at William Fèvre will show us how diverse the terroir and wines of Chablis can be.

We will then make our way to Chantilly, just north of Paris, to the Chateau de Montvillargennes. Set in a 15 acres park and built in the Norman style in the last century by the Rothschild family, we will spend our final night of the tour here.

Day 10 – Saturday, October 24:
This morning, we will have an early breakfast and a short transfer to the Paris airport for our flight on Air Canada, leaving at approximately 11:00 AM Paris time and arriving in Toronto at 1:00 Toronto time.

Extensions Possible:
We are also running a tour-director led 3-night extension to travel north to the Vimy Ridge region (Arras for two nights). The extension will feature visits to important sites of Canada's history in the First World War, and also a chance to enjoy the culture in this area of France. We'll return to Paris for one day (Monday afternoon and night) and return to Canada on Tuesday, October 27. Approx. $600 per person additional cost, please let us know if you are interested.

There is also the option for people to extend their stay in Paris (not included in tour price), which we can work with you to arrange.

Included in the price:

  • Return airfare from Toronto to Paris, airport taxes and security fees;
  • Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in first-class hotels; the single supplement is $1,295, but please note that only a limited number of single rooms are available, so book yours early;
  • Sightseeing, visits, and wine tastings as shown in the itinerary;
  • Transportation by deluxe coach;
  • Breakfast daily and a minimum combination of eight lunches and dinners, some (but not all) with wine included;
  • Porterage of one suitcase per person;
  • A gratuity for the coach driver.

Not included:

  • Wine, beer, mineral water and similar beverages with dinners, though some meals will include wine;
  • All items of a personal nature;
  • Travel insurance – please contact office for rates.

For full terms and application form, please download the PDF.




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