The place:

It’s hard to beat the feeling of waking up in the morning surrounded by the vines of the Cote des Blancs. And at Champagne Eric Isselee’s B&B, Les Grappes d’Or, you get a particularly good sweep of it -patchworks of green trestles, interrupted only by the pale, serpentine tracks of narrow roads. The sunny lounge, which connects the three double bedrooms, is the place to take in the panorama over a glass of fizz. The decor is cosy (peach-coloured floor tiles, textured walls, rustic furniture) and the welcome, from Eric and Carole Isselee and their two bubbly children, is wholly personal.

The tasting:

Inside the family home, learn Champenois tasting techniques. No sniffing, slurping and spitting here – champagne’s flavours are best released when you breathe in through your mouth straight after swallowing. So, with six types of bubbly on offer, the onsite B&B is a wise choice. You’ll find the Isselee’s bottles excellent value: the Cuvee Tradition (£15), made from the oldest vines, has a golden aura; the Rose (a mix of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes; £13) has a distinct berry edge; and the Brut Blanc de Blancs (£12) tingles with fruity flavour.

The lowdown:

Champagne Eric Isselee is eight kilometres south of Epernay on the D10 (350 Rue des Grappes d’Or, Cramant 51530; 00 33 326 575496, www. Tastings are free, but call ahead to arrange a visit to the cellars. Doubles at Les Grappes d’Or cost from £40, B&B.