azur wines

The Ultimate Guide to Champagne Tasting in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is highly regarded by wine connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike as one of the most prestigious wine regions the world has to offer.

Napa is famous for its top-tier Cabernet Sauvignon, but these days, guests are interested in expanding their wine knowledge and looking for other wines that they might like, including Champagne.

The region’s ideal climate and varied terroirs make it the perfect place to harvest premium grapes that can produce a crisp glass of bubbly – however, it’s important to note that Napa Valley itself does not produce Champagne.

With stunningly beautiful surroundings and such a rich wine culture, it’s no wonder there are almost 4 million visitors to Napa Valley each year. Wine & Bubbly enthusiasts are traveling from far and wide to explore Napa’s exceptional wineries, the hip downtown, the vibrant wine culture, and a multitude of luxurious spa facilities.

So, if you’re looking to book your very own Napa Valley Champagne-tasting experience, let’s first get a few things straight:

Is there a difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?

Yes, absolutely! Even though they both are effervescent, sparkling wine and Champagne are different wines. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Sparkling wine produced in Napa Valley can’t bear the label of Champagne.

First and foremost, this is simply because the title refers specifically to the region it comes from: the Champagne region in Northeastern France – although that’s not the only differentiating factor!

Champagne is crafted by small, high-end producers who are skilled in the traditional art of Champagne making that result in the exceptional taste and texture you know and love.

Its unique production method is what sets Champagne apart. Wine makers hold their wine in a tank or barrel for a significantly longer period of time than other sparkling wines. This creates smaller bubbles that give Champagne its distinctly smooth, creamy flavor and delicate tasting experience.

While many Napa Valley winemakers take influence from Champagne producers in how they create their sparkling wines, wines produced in California simply cannot be compared to France’s most famous export nor can it be called “champagne”.

Exploring Napa’s best “true” Champagne tasting spots

With a few sparkling houses to choose from in Napa Valley, finding the right place to visit can be a little challenging. That said, not many of them offer true Champagne tasting experiences!

Where better to start than with a winery that blends the best of everything Napa has to offer: Californian terroir, French sensibilities, and an abundance of authentic Champagne?

At Azur Wines, we import quality Champagne with intention. Our founder, Elan Fayard, spent several years living in Provence, France before setting up shop in the heart of California’s wine country.

Many people come to Napa to enjoy its natural beauty and sample the stunning wines produced from the region’s ideal terroir. But if it’s Champagne you’re after on this side of the Atlantic, make sure you visit a sparkling wine house that actually carries the real thing, not just sparkling wines.

We’ve curated an exceptional collection of Champagne from small producers from the Champagne region in France for you to enjoy, so you can experience premium wines from the world’s most prestigious regions right here in California.

The Champagne tasting experience: What to expect

There truly is nothing quite like sipping a glass of vibrant bubbly, each bubble bursting with the region’s unique terroir and winemaking heritage—and that’s exactly what you can expect when you visit Azur Wines for a tasting.

Our wine tasting rooms

We produce premium-quality wines and are passionate about curating a truly meaningful tasting experience. We partner with some of the best producers in Champagne to produce our very own Azur Cuvee Champagnes. When you visit our downtown Napa tasting room you can taste these exclusive champagnes produced only for Azur and our members.

Offering such delightful and unique flavors, Napa Valley wines are best when they’re shared. Our open lounge is designed to create a relaxed, fun-tasting experience that brings people together through exceptional wine.

And if you’re looking for a bit more of an intimate experience, our private wine-tasting speakeasy is the perfect place for you. Holding up to eight people, you and your party can enjoy a bespoke food and wine pairing for a totally luxurious, holistic experience.

The Champagne tasting process

Our process is simple, relaxed, and suitable for everyone – from first-time tasters to experienced palates.

You’ll experience our Champagne tasting process in 3 phases for a complete sensory experience:

  1. Visual examination: Explore the color of the wine and the size of the bubbles.
  2. Aroma evaluation: Next, breathe in the aroma to identify the scents coming through – unique to the region.
  3. Taste exploration: Now it’s time to enjoy your glass of bubbles! Whether you want to take your time to determine precisely what you’re tasting, or simply enjoy each delicious, refreshing sip, we know you’ll love the entire experience.

How to make the most of your wine tasting experience

Remember, Champagne tasting is all about enjoyment. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re a seasoned wine taster – there’s a Napa Valley wine for every palate.

  1. Pair with local Napa cuisine: Champagne is a popular choice, because it’s not only incredibly delicious and refreshing, it also pairs well with a wide variety of cuisines, elevating any dining experience. Take a look at some of our food offerings here.
  2. Engage and ask questions: Our wine experts will guide you through the experience, answer your questions, and give you an insight into each delicious sip, while explaining the winemaking process.
  3. Relax and enjoy: At the end of the day, it’s our exceptional grapes that do the talking. Trust the process, soak up the atmosphere, and simply relax and enjoy our incredible wines and exceptional hospitality.

Planning your Napa champagne tasting adventure

When is the best time of year to visit Napa Valley?

Here in Napa Valley, we’re fortunate to enjoy a beautiful, Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal place to visit all year round.

But for champagne lovers seeking the ultimate experience, the best time to come is during the harvest season, which runs from August through October. This way, visitors can experience the winemaking process in full swing.

What’s the best way to get to and around Napa Valley?

Napa Valley is a little under 1.5 hours away from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Once you land, you can rent a car, arrange private transportation, or use the many public transportation services available to get you to Napa.

Once you get to the valley, hiring a chauffeur service is the best way to get around and explore the countless wineries, restaurants, and luxury spas scattered across the region. We have many great transportation services we can provide. Please reach out so we can put you in touch with the best small tour companies in Napa.

Should I book wine tastings and tours in advance?

We recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, and to make sure you and your group can get the best seats in the house and really make the most of your wine tasting trip to Napa – especially during peak season, which is typically from the beginning of summer to the end of harvest season.

Book your Azur wine tasting experience today.

Visit Azur Wines in the heart of Napa Valley – exceptional Champagne and an unforgettable tasting experience

Whether you’re craving a glass of sparkling rosé or something a little more classic, Azur Wines is a must-stop-spot on your Napa Valley Champagne tasting journey.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you as you explore all the incredible wines, food, and landscapes the Napa Valley has to offer. Browse our wine collection to get excited about your trip.

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