France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Champagne Canard-Duchêne, France
With a romantic history, a beautiful location, and a dedication to quality, Canard-Duchêne is a great champagne to get to know.

Canard-Duchene Brut, France
We were happy to find
Canard-Duchêne in a
Massachusetts wine store.




 

 

 

We wanted to visit several champagne houses, both in the major cities of Reims and Épernay, and out in a village. Our village search led us to Champagne Canard-Duchêne, where we learned a lot in a beautiful setting.

Located in the village of Ludes, in the heart of the Montagne de Reims and a major pinot noir region, Canard-Duchêne was started in 1868 by Victor Canard, a cooper in Ludes, and his wife Léonie Duchêne, the daughter of a winegrower. Bringing their names and skills together, they built a family-run company that is still based in Ludes today. Although now owned by Alain Thiénot (who owns several champagne houses and started his own label, Thiénot, in 1985, it maintains its family focus.

Set in the middle of vineyards, the modest château serves as visitor center, tasting room, exhibit space, and offices. Weather permitting, tours start outside, in the vineyards, giving visitors the chance to appreciate the full cycle of champagne making. Canard-Duchêne's caves are left from the former Château de Ludes. Although the château was destroyed in the world wars, the cellars were preserved and renovated. Covering over 6 kilometers, they provide a perfect ambience for champagne.

Canard-Duchêne's interesting logo, the double-headed eagle, reflects the fact that this was a favorite champagne of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and the house was allowed to use the symbol of the Russian Empire as its brand. In addition, a sword is included to recognize the tradition of the Napoleonic cavalry presenting a sword in victory. (And the sword was used to remove champagne corks—a technique called sabrage that you may still find on occasion today!)

Canard-Duchene champagne, France
Canard-Duchêne's logo appears on the bottles and also on the outside of the building.

Canard-Duchêne produces several types of champagne, in response to the diverse market for champagne. The standard Brut, which comes in both white and rosé, uses a blend of the three grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier.

In 2005 Canard-Duchîene launched the Léonie line, aimed at prestigious restaurants and specialized wine merchants. These champagnes were designed to serve both as apéritifs and as wines to complement a meal.

The Charles VII royal champagnes, named for the king of France (1422 - 1462, during the Hundred Years War), include a blanc de blanc (made with white grapes, mostly chardonnay) and a blanc de noir (made largely with pinot noir and pinot meunier).

They have also recently launched Bio P181, an organic champagne. While you can taste and buy it in France, it is not yet exported.

The tasting room at Canard Duchêne includes both a shop where you can buy champagne and a casual lounge where you can relax and enjoy your sample(s). There's also a lovely outdoor seating area where groups can gather.

To visit Canard-Duchêne, you will need a car, as it is not on the train line and the village is somewhat isolated. However, this gives you the opportunity to take a drive along the Route touristique du Champagne and see the miles and miles of vineyards, and get a sense of the culture of the small wine villages of the region. More...

You also need to book your visit ahead of time, which you can do through the Canard-Duchêne website. Given the house's relatively small staff, it's important to plan ahead. Although most tours are in French, English tours can be scheduled. Canard-Duchêne offer three tour options: Tour Discovery includes one glass of Brut or Demi-Sec; Tour Freedom offers two flutes of Léonie or Bio P181; and Tour Charles VII provides two flutes of the Charles VII varieties. Prices reflect the different offerings.

Returning home to the US, we wanted to continue to enjoy this fine champagne and savor memories of our visit. Although you won't find it everywhere, we did find one local wine store that carries it. They do export to some 50 countries, so it should be possible to locate it chez vous.

For an idea of some other champagne visits, check our pages on visits to Mercier, Moët et Chandon, Pannier, and Taittinger. And for more information on champagne and what makes it unique, check out our page All About Champagne Wines.

Champagne Canard-Duchêne
1, rue Edmond Canard
51500 Ludes France
+33 (0)3 26 61 11 60

What to See & Do in Reims

What to See & Do in Épernay

Champagne House Visit

All About Champagne Wines

Overview of Champagne Wineries

Hotels in Reims

Reims Restaurants

Reims Transport

Épernay Transport

About Reims

About Épernay

Champagne Region

 

 

Canard-Duchene, Champagne, France

Above, Canard-Duchêne is located right in the middle of the vineyards. Weather permitting, your tour will start outside, and if you're lucky you might get to taste a grape!

Below, Attractive display of wines for sale in the tasting room.

 

Canard-Duchene, France

 

 

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