Ayala since 1850 making daring Champagne

Ayala Champagne Tasting Tours cellars

Complete tour in the unique Ayala walk in chalk cellars cut into the hillside in Aÿ.

Ayala Champagne Tasting Tours
Dry Champagne very daring but worth it!

Ayala Tasting Tour

The 1800’s were the prolific years of Champagne houses. Founded by Edmond de Ayala in 1860 his audacious personality assured success for the very start. Aÿ of course being one of the renowned villages for Champagne wines, and forerunners in champagne as we know it, Edmond de Ayala had to do things differently. The oldest winery in Aÿ is Gosset dating back to 1584! But that was longbefore they started making champagne as we know it today.

As early as 1865 Ayala introduced a very radical concept: a Champagne considered “dry” with only 21g/l of dosage sugar added compared to the heavy handed syrup style Champage of the day with over 100g/l!

Click here to visit the official Ayala site

The house continued to expand with sales going well world wide thanks to Ferdinand, the younger brother of Edmond. Ayala had a Royal Warrant in 1908 to be able to supply champagne to the Monarchy, which certainly helped for recognition.

By the roaring 20’s the house production topped 1 million bottles, a huge success for Champagne! They continued doing well until recent times. While the 80’s onwards saw lots of houses combining forming groups, Ayala’s sales and production declined from the previous milestone markers.

The big change; Bollinger Ayala’s neighbour, realising the enormous potential of this historic house, purchased Ayala. With a considerable investment, Ayala still remaining independent saw its renaissance bringing back the amazing wines their vineyards, and production could offer.

Today we have to say “chapeau bas” to Caroline Latrive a grand cellar master. Recently she has brought back to life blends with such expression that the House of Ayala is now playing with the greats!

At multiple occasions I had the fortune of tasting some of these superb champagnes, comparable in ways to other top labels yet at a much more reasonable price. I sincerely think that it is the love of making these new specific wines that will position Ayala in better channels, away from main stream marketing and distribution. That is going to be a challenge, one that will be met as they are of course allied with one of Champage’s finest, Bollinger.

Champagne Tasting Tours Ayala
Magnificent facilities with a rooftop garden for special tastings.
Champagne Tasting Tours Ayala blending lab
Works in progress the daily art of creating champagne.

Fantastic cellars to visit, you’ll be surprised that you basically can walk into the huge chalk layer on top of which vines are growing, yet you are walking into some amazing cellars directly below. You can definitely feel the history present. When you walk out of the cellars in fact you’ll walk right past the unpretentious lab where sometimes you could be lucky enough to wave hello to Caroline Latrive. Champagne always has surprises for those who venture out to this fabulous region.

Ayala Champagne tasting tours
Champagne is beautiful fashionable and elegant.

Where the old cellars meet the ultra modern facilities is a switch in time. Again, it is solely the creations of the cellar master that brings everything we love about Champagne, back into the past history of the house with indeed a flair for the modern, eloquent, and certainly a touch of beauty that only a woman can bring.

Ayala Champagne Tasting Tours modern vats
Top of the line Thermo-regulated tanks.

One of the first Houses to introduce stainless egg vats for first fermentation. Ayala added new ones since!

Ayala Champagne Tasting Tours egg vats
Ayala stainless egg vats for first fermentation.

One of the first Houses to introduce stainless egg vats for first fermentation. Ayala added new ones since!

A variation that has advantages in the concept of the circulation inside the vat during fermaentation. Some such as Henri Giraud use baked earth vats. They seem to be catching on, we’re seeing more and more egg vats in Champagne.

What We Like at Ayala

Best Points

A shorter tour but impressive. Excellent Champagnes coming back to make top level wines

Could Be Improved

Not always easy to schedule a tour. A bit distant from Epernay if you don't have transportation.

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