We will be in Epernay in December and would like to go to one big champagne house and one small one. Does anyone have suggestions on both a big and a small house to visit? Thank you.
The big one HAS to be Dom Perignon, but you will "do" Mercier and Moet & Chandon at the same time. They are "ensemble". As you drive around the champagne region - it's not very big - you will pass dozens of small producers with their "degustation" invitation boards outside. I think you should play it by ear and just pick the one that you like the look of.
Do you have a car and do you speak French? If you can answer yes to both questions, there are many more options available.
We will not have a car and I do not speak French very well.
Then I'd suggest a waltz down the Avenue du Champagne and just popping in to whatever catches your fancy.
Perrier-Jouet offers a really good and fun visit. Great cellars. Even though it's owned by LVMH, which owns Moet, Veuve Cliquot and others, P-J's Champagne is really good. Much, much better than Moet's. For the smaller producer, Albert Gratien makes exquisite Champagne: http://www.libation-unlimited.com/b-105-champagne-alfred-gratien.aspx