Yesterday I went on a day trip to France with a friend and my partner; the idea was to buy cheap Champagne. It was a successful trip.
The Champagne monger of choice in Calais is Perardel on rue Marcel Doret, a few minutes drive away from the ferry terminal. The prices were generally a third lower than in the UK. If you should visit I heartily recommend Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve at €24 a bottle, their Blanc de Blanc non-vintage at €32.70 a bottle and Gosset Grande Reserve for €26.60. They also had some Pol Roger Brut Chardonnay 1996 for a bargain €40 and I do have a bit of a soft-spot for Gratien non-vintage at €22.50.
They also had a few Champagnes from smaller growers. I picked up a couple of bottles from Pierre Gimonnet and, perhaps foolishly, a bottle of Egly-Ouriet’s basic Pinot Meunier. I’ve hated every other bottle of Egly-Ouriet I’ve tried, they are ridiculous beasts with no harmony or refinement, but this basic wine was recommended to me by a reliable person.
When priced so keenly Champagne does not seem quite such a luxury item so it can be opened and enjoyed more freely.